This week marks a historic time in our nation’s highest Court. Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Proposition 8. Proposition 8 was California’s 2008 ballot initiative banning gay marriage. It won support from 52% of voters and nullified a decision five months earlier by the state’s Supreme Court allowing the practice. The state court in May 2009 said the ban could stand. Listen to oral arguments or read the transcript.
On Wednesday, the justices will hear arguments in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 federal law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages regardless of their validity under state law. Some of my students at Widener University School of Law are increasing awareness of DOMA on campus by providing information and answering questions at a booth hosted by OUTLAW, the school’s LGBTQ campus organization.
The bottom line on this issue is that we cannot provide rights for some but not others. It’s about equal protection under the laws. And civil unions are not equal. The separate but equal doctrine out of Plessy v. Ferguson was deemed unconstitutional in Brown v. Bd. of Education. The same arguments used to ban interracial marriage just over 45 years ago in Loving v. Virginia are being used for same-sex marriage.
This is about basic human liberty and freedom. About with whom you intend to make life-long relationship commitments and whether everyone who makes those long-term commitments, whether straight, bi or gay, will receive the same benefits under the laws of this country.
Strength in Numbers: The Times They Are A Changin’
From law makers, to policy makers, to church leaders and the folks next door, discriminatory attitudes are yielding to the reality that these cases don’t involve “gay” rights but human “equal” rights. At HRC’s Web site, Adam Talbot writes:
There’s a lot to be hopeful about after today’s historic events at the United States Supreme Court. But another reason to be optimistic is that 81% of Americans under 30 support marriage equality—and these so-called “millennials” take this civil rights fight very seriously.
The parents of millenials are switching their attitudes as well. The list of notable lawmakers, for example, who recently went on record with their support of same-sex marriage are exhibit A.
Today the Internet was awash in red pro same-sex symbols like this one:
But my ALL time favorite is this photo mashup of the Constitution and the HRC symbol!!!!! Brilliant:
What Can You DO?
The HRC recommends the following:
Wear Red to show your support for marriage equality.
Spread the Word with the hashtag #UnitedforMarriage.