This surely is not a coincidence. The Massachusetts court, in so timing its decision, was giving a moral lecture, a judicial parable, a little self-important sermon to the American people. Moral progress demands expanding our definition of marriage to include same-sex couples because separate is not equal.
Brown v. Board of Education marked the end of the doctrine of "separate but equal" when it comes to race. Goodridge v. Massachusetts, by contrast, marks the end of the marriage idea as we have known it.
Take a look at the new unisex marriage licenses that Gov. Romney has decided (without any authorization by the state legislature) to create. Gone is the language of bride and groom, husband and wife, replaced by the new, deeply moving announcement that "Party A" is going to join with "Party B" in something the court insists we call marriage. Gone as well is the whole set of deeply ingrained ideas associated with marriage as the union of opposite sexes: Marriage is more than couple-love; it is the means by which the human race bridges the gender divide, creates mothers and fathers for children, and makes the next generation happen.
Advocates of same-sex marriage try to make it sound as bourgeois as possible, but gay marriage is really the triumph of the most radical ideas of the sexual revolution: that gender doesn't matter, children are secondary, expressing your authentic sexual self is more important than, well, practically anything else.
For African-Americans, the misuse of the moral capital of the civil rights movement to endorse this new sexual agenda is particularly trying. The Goodridge court decision and its advocates would have us believe that gay marriage, like Brown v. Board of Education, represents moral progress -- the courts stepping in to re-engineer society along better, higher, more just lines. Black America knows better than anyone else the high price children pay for the sexual agendas of adults.
The tragedy of the civil rights movement is that just as it achieved the beginning of the end of racial segregation, white educated elites became swept up in the glamour of the sexual revolution. The sexual and family disorganization that followed hit black children particularly hard. The Massachusetts court would have us believe that SSM is the culmination of our American ideals of tolerance, equality and justice. Another way of reading the last 40 years is that once again, white, educated elites are using their power to enforce the moral norms and sexual tastes of affluent white people with graduate degrees.
But the victory is likely to be extremely short-lived. Same-sex marriage is not the future. The set of ideas that lead a culture, a religion, a court to endorse same-sex marriage are simply not sustainable over the long haul. Europe, which gave us the idea of same-sex marriage, is a dying society, with birthrates 50 percent below replacement. Every mainstream Protestant sect that has endorsed sexual liberation (including homosexuality) is also dwindling away.
Sign of the times: The Methodists just voted to oppose same-sex marriage. The victory reflects the growing strength of the Orthodox Christians among Methodists vs. the "progressives" who once thought the future would be inevitably theirs as ancient, irrational sex taboos faded.
The reason is really quite simple: Cultures, communities, religions, sects and societies that lose the marriage idea die out. They are replaced by cultures, communities, sects and societies that prioritize, celebrate and embrace the idea of bringing men and women together to make the future happen. That's what marriage means.