#1 – Marriage Equality Comes to the United States of America

A few weeks ago we celebrated as Ireland passed a Constitutional referendum to allow for gay marriage, so we’re thrilled our time has come here at home. This civil rights issue was decided by the Supreme Court in our top story this week, which comes from The New York Times:

“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “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.”

Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Of special importance to couples, he said, is raising children.

“Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers,” he wrote, “their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion.

In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said the majority opinion was “an act of will, not legal judgment.”

“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” he wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”

The decision overruled the bans in 13 states in the middle of the country. Some people in those states are still grappling with this decision. It seems the religious communities are having the toughest time. This from USA Today: 

“The iconic rainbow colors that bathed the White House Friday night after the court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide represent “depravity, degradation and what the Bible calls sexual perversion,” the Rev. Robert Jeffress said.” 

“”Welcome to the new world. It’s just changed for you Christians. You are going to be persecuted,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore said from the pulpit at the Kimberly Church of God, in Kimberly, Ala.”
“Sixty-two percent of white evangelical Protestants and 54 percent of non-white Protestants oppose same-sex marriage, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.”

While others are poking fun at those who say gay marriage will be the death of us, leave it to BuzzFeed to bring the humor by looking at how other countries with same-sex marriage laws are fairing:

“In addition to having to endure same-sex marriage, the people of the Netherlands have consistently had to endure being listed among the 10 happiest countries in the world by the World Happiness Report

Belgium legalized same-sex marriage on June 1, 2003. But its nightmare didn’t end there. Four years later, a UNICEF report ranked Belgium as the “best country for children’s educational well-being.”

There has been some backlash. Many counties won’t issue marriage licenses and aren’t complying with the ruling, claiming the decision has ruined the sanctity of marriage. But, in reality, only the LGBTQ+ community is affected by this decision (no heterosexual marriages ruined here…).

There was some drama because of the ruling. A Texas minister set himself on fire in protest and inspire social justice.

There was also a slew of outrage on Twitter – many people declared they were now moving to Canada because of the ruling. Imagine their reaction when they learned gay marriage has been legal in Canada for 10 years! Here is where gay marriage stands on the world stage:

Here are some more cool graphics we found, and a timeline of LGBTQ+ rights leading up to this historic decision!

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