On June 26, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, was unconstitutional. SPIN reached out for reaction from some of today's most politically engaged musicians. Here's what they had to say.
MEN'S JD SAMSON
I came to Austin on Tuesday for a DJ gig and walked into one of the most powerful protests I have ever been part of. Watching Wendy Davis filibuster live at the Texas capital was absolutely inspiring, and invigorating for me. Something I will never forget.
And later as we danced to protest music, we watched the live feed on a 30-foot screen. At one point, we turned off the music to hear the arguments in real time, and as soon as there was a question about the outcome, we closed the party to join the masses and protest in solidarity.
This morning I awoke feeling proud that the Texas abortion bill had failed, but was left worried about DOMA and Prop 8, after witnessing such blatant misogyny and bigotry in our government practice. And as the SCOTUS blog spit out the results, I couldn't help but feel at peace. With tears running down my face, I knew that the bodies we own and carry ourselves in had stood up all over this country, just as we had the night before. And that together we had created positive change with our fight for freedom and equality.
Thank you to every person that has ever taken to the streets, to every ally that believes in equality, to every shared Internet image and chant that has united us in these struggles and helped us win one more fight for equal rights.
It feels incredible to live in a time where progressive change is taking place. Slowly but surely...
Let's not stop.
NO AGE'S RANDY RANDALL
The Supreme Court ruling is a step in the right direction. It is insane that things need to move this slow. Marriage and expressions of love are not things the government has any right to regulate. I look forward to my home state of California stepping into the 21st century.
FUCK Prop 8 in the face!
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' JOHN DARNIELLE
When SPIN heard that Section 3 of the odious Defense of Marriage Act had been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, naturally their first impulse was to call me.
"John," they said (there were several of them; it was a conference call), "you're a guy who's written, by our count, no fewer than 40 songs about an alcoholic couple getting a divorce. What's your take on this whole deal?"
"Well," I said, because I begin most of my answers to questions that way; it buys time, and also it sounds thoughtful: "I agree with the court, but I also don't think states should have the right to prevent people from marrying who they want, you know, the federal government can't really say 'Here, you abridge these rights, we don't have the stomach for it anymore,' you know — "
"So you think it's a 'partial victory'?" said the junior reporter from Nebraska. That was how he identified himself, "junior reporter from Nebraska." I think his name was actually Kip but the part that stuck with me was "junior reporter from Nebraska."
"Well," I said, because complex deals require a full supply of "wells," "yes, 'partial victory,' sure, yes, bad law has been struck down. But —"
"But what?" demanded a gruff voice, which I can only assume was Weingarten's.
"Look," I said, which is the interjection you resort to when "well" just isn't cutting it anymore, "I'm kind of a radical about this, is the thing. People like to go on about 'the purpose of marriage is to rear children, whose contributions to society further the interest of the state' and all that kind of thing, but my eyes glaze over as soon as they start because actually no, the purpose of my marriage is whatever my partner and I say it is, and my radicalism extends even to maybe amending that to say whatever my partner(s) and I say it is, and the purpose of my marriage is, moreover, none of anybody's business, but if any governmental entity is in any way recognizing anybody's marriage, then it has to recognize mine, too, by which I mean 'anybody's,' at all, ever, forever, it's utterly mystifying to me that there's even any debate about this, and yet there's not only debate, there are a whole lot of people who get themselves very worked up thinking about how they're sure 'the institution of marriage' is somehow damaged by allowing more people to marry whomever they like, and then they start trying to draw comparisons to 'the fall of Rome' and so on, but one generally gets the impression they don't really know anything about that subject and moreover that marriage throughout history is not really their strong suit. But that's also usually the point when you get this sort of rush of perspective; it's like a tracking shot slowing down enough to let you know we're about to resolve on something really cool. Because this ruling, 5-4 or not, is really an observation about the direction we're actually headed already, with or without court rulings, i.e., toward actual freedom for everybody, the whole package, the slippery slope that the rapidly extinguishing breed of rights-deniers fear both rightly (because it's coming) and wrongly (because there's nothing to fear). That's what the ruling means: It is an admission by the court that it sees which way the wind is blowing, and sees the great place that that wind will eventually take us. I'm not fooled, this is only one battle, we lost another one just yesterday and that sucks, but every battle won means ground gained, and in the long run it seems clear that we're going to build something that could conceivably be awesome and totally slay."
"Completely slay?" Weingarten said. I could hear him scribbling.
"Completely," I said. I gripped my phone between my shoulder and my face and assumed a moshing posture no one but the cat could see. "Completely, totally slay."