States are “the laboratories of Democracy.” State legislatures are busier than ever. But now they are places where conservative causes have found a home.
The reason is that they no longer feel the federal courts protect their rights. They believe state governments have to provide such protection.
Some say it began with the decision in Rove vs. Wade in 1973. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal. Others say it goes back to Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education in 1954. In that case, the Supreme Court said segregation in schools was not legal.
In 2015 the Court made law again. The case was Obergefell vs. Hodges. The Court said that states could not ban same-sex marriages.
These rulings were not easy for some people to accept. They believe the rulings were against their moral or religious beliefs. Most, but not all, of these people, live in the South and the Southwest of the United States.
The changing of the color of America also mattered. Recent years have seen hundreds of thousands of new arrivals. Most are Hispanics and Asians. They came for the chances America offers to them.
The election of Barack Obama was another big event. He is the nation’s first black president.
Abortion remains a big target. State legislatures have passed laws banning abortions on medical grounds. it is likely federal courts will find that their state laws violate the Constitution. Sometimes governors will veto the laws for that reason.
The states are also looking for ways to oppose transgender rights. Restricting their bathroom rights is one way. Conservatives want to use the gender stated on the birth certificate.
Some experts say these efforts are about resistance to a changing world. Some say the home and the school are the places to teach and maintain the old values. The legislatures might not be able to help much.
Conservatives say they are not racist or against others. They just like the old ways better.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor June 6, 2016