Thanks largely to the Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the nation! (This is just one of several stories in the media touting the decision: http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2015/06/us-supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-recognize-same-sex-marriages.) No more state-by-state decisions (though some defiant states, finding the Court increasingly political and partisan, are refusing to abide by the decision (http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/06/27/alabama-judge-throws-tantrum-over-marriage-equality-by-ending-marriage-licenses-for-everyone/)). The decisions on “Obamacare” and “housing discrimination” might affect more people, but the decision on same-sex marriage positively impacts those with a same-sex orientation. Perhaps, the LGBT community is better organized than many others. If so, hopefully it’ll stay that way, remaining vocal and organized.
Of course, many people advocated and a lot of activists worked for this result. Euphemisms are obsolete ()http://www.npr.org/2015/06/28/418187875/long-before-same-sex-marriage-adopted-son-could-mean-life-partner?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150628),It’s sad to know that many who might have benefited from this decision have departed the planet, that numerous folks who weren’t in an applicable committed relationship died before this result, including those who passed away from AIDS while that plague decimated the gay population.
That the Court announced its decision just before many Pride celebrations, certainly contributed to the celebrations this year (), marking the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2015/06/26/last-living-stonewall-veteran-celebrates-marriage-equality-decision/). The 8th annual Fruit Bowl, a tobacco- and alcohol-free event sponsored by Rainbow Health Initiative on the Friday evening of Pride in Minneapolis, where I live, drew a large crowd. Half a million people were estimated to have attended Sunday’s Pride parade, and the two-day festival in downtown Loring Park was exceedingly crowded (http://www.citypages.com/slideshow/twin-cities-pride-2015-the-parade-7441153); even more than usual, if that is possible, parking within walking distance of the park was impossible.
Many allies supported last week’s decision. Corporations were eager to offer their congratulations and to tout their commitment to marriage equality (http://www.ijreview.com/2015/06/354051-35-companies-just-told-america-exactly-think-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=post-footer&utm_campaign=Sharing). Municipalities got into the act (http://www.ijreview.com/2015/06/355167-seattle-unveils-rainbow-crosswalks-gay-pride-week-youll-never-believe-much-cost-taxpayers/). Thanks are due too to the many supporters who shared their opinions on the subject.
Despite the rapid progress and the fast pace of social change prevailing on the issue of marriage equality (http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-pace-of-social-change/), there was notable dissent (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/26/antonin-scalia-dissent_n_7671110.html), some of the justices seemed to be clueless (https://youreadygrandma.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/supreme-court-justice-didnt-know-marriage-cant-legally-involve-churches-or-religion/) and the decision was by only 5-4, a majority achieved through the votes of three relatively aged justices. The narrow majority on this issue as well as the identities of the dissenting justices prove once again that it is critical that social moderates and/or liberals gain the White House in 2016 or face the threat of conservatives intent on undoing changes upon being elected (http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/06/29/418398912/cruz-opposition-to-gay-marriage-will-be-front-and-center-in-2016-campaign).
If there is any doubt about the importance of controlling Supreme Court appointments, the reactions and statements of Republican presidential candidates quickly eliminate it (http://mashable.com/2015/06/26/2016-presidential-candidates-gay-marriage/?utm_campaign=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedly). Besides being often laughable (http://nytimes.com.co/wi-gov-scott-walker-challenges-supreme-court-justices-to-fist-fight/), especially when accompanying actions are taken into account, the reactions of social conservatives demonstrate many feel this is an issue that—like slavery, WW II internment, and inter-racial marriage before—should be subject to majority vote (http://www.vox.com/2015/6/26/8851495/same-sex-marriage-scalia). Whether wrapped in the cloak of states’ rights, democracy, the Constitution, dignity, government mandate, ritual intellectualism, or whatever other inapplicable concepts might gain political mileage (http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/jindal–left-will-go-after-first-amendment-rights-472587843943), fundamental rights are not something requiring a popular vote to exist or be recognized (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b715GKJNWXA).
Popular culture turns often humorous (http://americannewsx.com/politics/watch-stephen-colbert-hilariously-slams-the-right-wing-justices-after-the-gay-marriage-ruling-video/#) over such “shenanigans” (http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/06/bobby_jindal_says_clerks_wont.html#incart_m-rpt-2) and the pontificating (http://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/angry-americans-are-promising-to-move-to-australia-after-the#.mpn17W9D3) and hypocritical statements (http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2015/06/27/texas-pastor-now-says-he-didnt-mean-hed-really-set-himself-afl) of some conservatives. Truth is, despite their statements to the contrary, the dissenting justices are really the ‘dangerous’ ones on the Court, and the “Biblical pronouncements” (http://www.forwardprogressives.com/what-every-american-should-know-about-the-biblical-definitions-of-marriage/) are usually poorly understood by those depending spouting them to support their opinions. In fact, same-sex marriages were once sanctioned by the Church (http://io9.com/gay-marriage-in-the-year-100-ad-951140108 ).
The reaction of some conservatives and Evangelicals, to whom this has been a distraction from other concerns (http://edcyzewski.com/2015/06/26/the-supreme-court-just-gave-american-evangelicals-a-gift/), is predictably negative (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/conservatives-feel-betrayed-by-supreme-court/), whatever their limited credibility (http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/stephen-colbert-roasts-justice-scalia-then-dares-him-to-be-a-guest-on-the-late-show/, http://americannewsx.com/politics/watch-stephen-colbert-hilariously-slams-the-right-wing-justices-after-the-gay-marriage-ruling-video/#). Especially when centuries of “traditional marriage” are cited (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/06/26/justice-roberts-cited-the-traditions-of-four-cultures-in-his-dissent-on-gay-marriage-heres-what-he-didnt-mention/), the viewpoints are primarily discredited.
Despite the positive consequences (http://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2015/06/same-sex-marriage-transformation-our-world-while-its-all-us-much-more-child, http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/how-same-sex-marriage-ruling-may-impact-politics-and-society/), one casualty of marriage equality is that gays are no longer outsiders (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/scotus-same-sex-marriage-gay-culture.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0). In the U.S., there is no same-sex marriage; now that marriage is available to all; there is simply marriage.
Over the weekend, I attended the wedding of a second cousin. I’ve been to many weddings, each one different. This one had its unique moments, especially since the bride was spontaneous about many things with a self-deprecating sense of humor. Often the presiding minister gives the soon-to-be newlyweds some advice on marriage. In this case, he admonished each individual to assess how it felt to be married to them, advice any couple might benefit from, especially in challenging circumstances.
With all the hoopla here, it’s easy to forget that in some countries, being gay is still a liability (https://news.vice.com/article/turkish-police-use-water-cannons-rubber-bullets-and-tear-gas-on-gay-pride-parade?utm_source=vicenewsfb), and even that homosexuals can be imprisoned for life or put to death. With marriage equality, it’ll be easy to lose track of the work that still needs to be accomplished in areas like job security, housing discrimination, credit availability, education access and bullying, and gender identity. By tossing gays and lesbians a crumb, albeit an important and valuable one, it might be that American LGBT communities could lose sight of the loaf while many gays and lesbians are still hungry. Two can live as well as one, only half as long (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/opinion/the-supreme-courts-lonely-hearts-club.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0 ). Celebrate and remember, using that memory to effect change.