June 26th: A Historic Day for Equality

Original flag image from Flickr/Benson Kua. CC License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

June 26, 2015. Twelve years to the day after the Supreme Court struck down bans on sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas. Two years to the day after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that states may not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples and must recognize same-sex couples' existing marriages.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, on this day, marriage equality comes to the entire nation.

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Kennedy, reflected:

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution's central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed."

Today the Court determined our constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection prohibit states from excluding same-sex couples from marriage.

Citing the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's opinion from nearly 12 years ago in Goodridge, the Court today affirmed that by fulfilling "yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition."

Of course, so many fought so hard to make today's historic decision happen.

It was only nine years ago that, in a devastating opinion, New York's highest court upheld the state's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, concluding that "[t]he Legislature could rationally believe that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father." 

That argument – that kids fare worse when raised by same-sex couples – has since been discredited at trials in Arkansas, Florida, California, and, most recently, in Michigan.  Sociologist and expert for the states, Mark Regnerus, tried to revive this theory in recent years, particularly in the aftermath of United States v. Windsor. The position was dealt a final blow and abandoned after trial in DeBoer v. Snyder, a case brought by a team of Michigan lawyers, during which the ACLU's own Leslie Cooper demolished him on cross-examination. The District Court in DeBoer concluded that Regnerus's testimony regarding the welfare of children raised by same-sex couples was "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration." 

Courts around the country shared that view, striking down marriage bans, affirming the dignity of same-sex couples, and paving the way to today's decision.

Judge Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that: "The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction—that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended—is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously."

But for far too long, far too many people took these arguments seriously.

Today, the Court said enough.

As Judge McShane of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon wrote in Rummel v. Kitzhaber, striking down Oregon's marriage ban last May:

"I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community."

Indeed, that is what the Court recognized today. 

The majority concluded today's opinion:

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

Our work is by no means done. We have always fought for more than marriage. As we prepare for the work ahead, let us take this moment to celebrate this historic collective victory.

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Anonymous

God will judge you perverts. And you are perverts.

Anonymous

You will find that the definition of pervert, via Google, does not include or cite "those that do not fit your cookie cutter world with suburban neighborhoods and clones in the houses that all read the same gossip rag and drive the same car and lead the same lives". Also, since when is marriage a sex contract? I thought that marriage was about love, not kinky BDSM sex. Though you might disagree. Also, the definition of pervert says that the person is question must partake in "sexual behavior is regarded as abnormal and unacceptable" The majority of the world, myself included, does not find same sex marriage to be this. Also, I am an atheist. At least try make good threats next time. And perhaps pick up a dictionary as well.

Anonymous

An abstract concept I don't believe in will judge me! Oh, NO!

Anonymous

We will never accept this extremist decision. Though liberals will try.

Mirabelle Gerts

Extremist? You make me sound like a terrorist. Also, as a liberal myself, I feel justified to say that this is not a matter of 'try', this is a matter of do. Also, you don't really have a choice on accepting this one, unless you want to move to a different country, which I suggest. It would be better for all of us if you just shut your trap and go away where we can't hear you.

Ashamed American

June 26, 2015. The day America turned its back on God. Forgive our country for we have sinned.

Anonymous

If you ever picked up a bible it states and says that we also cant wear ripped jeans, go bald, and can't eat shrimp ect. But low and behold what do people have.... Bald heads, tattoos and faded jeans if your trying to make a point a point should be that america turned there back on god a long time ago. If you want to stick to gods word dont pick and choose what words are mean less and what words mean something

steven winner

I got a phone call today thank me for my past donations. The person that called me mentioned about this big day and if i could donate some more. I told him how i had donated already like $24,000 in past 2 years of most being this year & i really could afford to donate anymore.(sucker i am i did make another donation!) I TOLD HIM ABOUT HOW I SPOKE UP ABOUT MY had forgotten where i put my cards? cas she had already told hosp. about me. Hosp. #2 DNR me. She was only person to know i was going to that hosp. I even emailed her while my brain was rupturing! Then Marsha Bangcroft of Dis. rights of VT.(keep changing their name, 3 times so far?) was to show up for my divorce, to help me understand what was going on? She called me night before. Her son died. I meet her 3 years later & give her my sympathy at a TBI meeting. She does not me & tells me nothing wrong with her son!(only heard 4-5 similer stories)
Then i told the man about the arsonist in Central VT. 1 of my tenents. I evict him, & ask for Marsha, s help again! I also emailed the police to thank them. The Barre city police chief took over the case. They decide to try to burn my house down while i am doing oxygen! My lawyer bills me for talking to city officials. The mayor owns 2 of the buildings. 20 k reward! My daughter collects? She stop taking care of me. My lawyer has a plan to set me up and says i am crazy, so they can feed me more of that med. that was for my headaches. It makes your brain have aneurism & you die! I celebrate my 3 year aniversary. I will never be normal, & close to dieing. Marsha Bangcroft writes 3 hosp. out of state that are trying to help me. She(APS) write that i am an opiate/alcoholic with homicidal ideations! I confront her over the phone. She blames my other lawyer! I email Dagny Hoff again to tell her i am going to report Marsha at next TBI meeting. Marsha hides in her office & no one shows for the meeting. Dagny shuts down her gov. email address site to me from Dept. of Aging. I forgot like 5 APS workers contact my attorney & he billed me! I told running mate to Washington cty DA. D.A. gets new job in a different county, & Scott Williams gets his job! STILL NO-ONE TELLS ANYONE ABOUT ME WITH SEVERE BRAIN DAMAGE, & POLY NEURAPHY, DEMYLINATION DISEASE, GLACOMA, just a few things wrong with me. Then the commisioner of DMV finds out & they take my right to drive! I could go on & on & on!! Suppose to go to FBI, but someone called them & said i was crazy. Hosp.will not update my records! I am a dead man. I HAVE NO RIGHTS in AMERICA! (please excuse my tangency and my spelling. I am in a hurry, to try to file all my OCR files & post on face-book. Steven Winner. (if anyone reads this please help me. call the FBI, or anything, but do not go to VT. POLICE OR STATE police)

Anonymous

“Democracy depends on having a strong sense of the value of diverse opinions. If one imagines (as the Soviets did) that one already has the final truth, and that everyone who disagrees is mad, immoral, or stupid, then why allow opposing opinions to be expressed or permit another party to exist at all? The Soviets insisted they had complete freedom of speech, they just did not allow people to lie. It is a short step, John Stuart Mill argues, from the view that one’s opponents are necessarily guided by evil intentions to the rule of what we have come to call a one-party state or what Putin today calls “managed democracy.”

Mirabelle Gerts

I must say that I agree. Love your philosophy.

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