As many of my readers have likely heard by now, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that states cannot ban same-sex marriages. This is a major victory for human rights in our country (note, I say human rights, not just gay rights).
The 5-4 ruling, though a long time in coming, demonstrates that our government can, eventually, work and is a testament to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers who created one of the greatest documents ever written: the U.S. Constitution.
Some conservatives are saying that the U.S. Supreme Court overstepped its bounds, that this is a violation of states' rights or of religious rights. Nonsense. The overly aggressive assertion of states' rights is what gave us the Civil War, thank you very much. While there is a time and place for state rights (such as taxation at the local level and determination of public works projects), the law of the land falls under federal jurisdiction.
A big reason why state laws had to be trumped in this case was that they were causing legal headaches. In Obergefell v. Hodges (the case in question), Jim Obergefell is a gay man who lived with his partner in Ohio. Because Ohio banned gay marriage, the couple married in Maryland and returned to their home state. Obergefell's husband passed away, and the state would not allow Obergefell to have his name on the death certificate. He sued the state for discrimination and had to take the case to the Supreme Court. Obergefell's case was actually combined with a couple other similar suits. The issue here was not only such things as legal documents, but taxation. A same-sex couple in filing federal taxes in a state that disallowed same-sex unions had to lie to the U.S. government about their marital status because of state law (i.e., on their state tax form, they couldn't say they were married, but on the federal tax form they would have to say they were, thus creating quite a conundrum).
Concerning religion: this is NOT a blow against religious freedom. Let me state clearly now that the ruling DOES NOT DEMAND THAT CHURCHES MARRY SAME-SEX COUPLES!!!!!! Please! All you religious people out there who think that's the case, get this through your heads! Sheesh. I'm so tired of that misinformation.
Right now, a lot of conservatives have their panties in a bunch. People like Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee say that the Court is being dictatorial and complaining that the justices weren't elected by the people (I guess, once more, saying that they believe the Constitution is wrong). Their arguments fall flat. Recent surveys show that the more Americans are fine with gay marriage, with numbers approaching a 2/3 majority. Even if the opinion were in the minority, it would be the right thing to do. Just because a majority of people believe in something doesn't mean they are correct. People once believed the world was flat and the sun went around the Earth; more recently, it used to be true in America that many felt slavery was fine; it was against the law for interracial couples to marry or for women to vote (indeed, women were once considered "property" in a marriage).
Another argument against gay marriage is the erroneous notion that "marriage has always been the same over the centuries." Nonsense to that, too. Marriage is an evolving institution. We no longer have arranged marriages, for instance, and, as mentioned above, married people are now considered equal partners, though it was not always so. Other countries have made same-sex marriage legal, and now we are catching up. We need to evolve beyond outdated concepts of marriage and regard it for what it is: a union between two loving people, no matter who those two people are.
I congratulate the Supreme Court of finally making the correct decision and proving that our Founding Fathers were, once again, very wise to form a government with a balance of powers between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.
Now I'm just wondering.... Will those people who threatened to burn down their churches and, indeed, set themselves on fire follow through? You know, I'd actually have a little more respect for them if they did, but I highly doubt they will.
Congratulations to all those in the LGBT community who have literally fought for decades to see this day come to fruition. Well done.
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