In live debate, supermajority agrees: The Constitution requires the freedom to marry
June 03, 2015
Last night, Freedom to Marry president and founder Evan Wolfson, alongside law professor and author Kenji Yoshino, debated so-called National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman and Sherif Gergis before a live audience on the question of the freedom to marry on Intelligence Squared U.S. Specifically, the question presented was whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” means that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry across the country.
John Eastman and Sherif Gergis argued for the notion that the Equal Protection Clause does not protect same-sex couples' marriages, while Evan Wolfson and Kenji Yoshino argued against denying loving, committed couples marriage.
Before the debate, a poll was taken of the audience to gauge where they stood on the issue. 13% voted for the notion that the Equal Protection Clause does not protect same-sex couples, 34% were undecided, and 53% voted against the idea that the Equal Protection Clause doesn't protect same-sex couples.
Evan Wolfson explained the significance of a growing public support for the freedom to marry across the nation:
A supermajority of Americans now support the freedom to marry for gay couples. Several polls showing over 60%, with majority support in every region in the country, and across virtually every demographic. Now, even if there were not majority support, the court should uphold the Constitution, but the shift in majority opinion tells us something. It tells us about the growing understanding as to how and why the constitution does apply to gay people's lives and dreams, and to our claim under the constitution.
View the full debate here:
After the debate, the numbers had changed markedly, showing an enormous shift towards pro-marriage beliefs. 14% of the live audience, afterwards, voted for the notion that the Equal Protection Clause did not protect same-sex couples, 3% of the audience was undecided, and 83% voted against the notion that the Equal Protection Clause does not protect all couples. This huge upswell in support after hearing this singular debate indicates what we know: that there is no good reason not to allow all families to have the rights and responsibilities of marriage as they are laid out in our country's constitution.
— Joshua Robert (@the_jayardee) June 3, 2015
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) June 2, 2015