By Dana Zillgitt, Regular Contributor June 27, 2015
Supreme Court, you wonderful creation at times, you. When you work, you really work inspirationally.
As I’m sure we’ve all heard, June 26, 2015 is a day for the history books. Federal judges ruled that same-sex marriage was a fundamental constitutional right, and it’s a monumental day, to say the least.
People around the country-hell, even around the world-are celebrating.
YouTube has already released a video in support called #ProudToLove and several celebrities are tweeting and instagramming their enthusiasm in favour of the ruling. The amount of love, support, and sighs of relief are overwhelming to say the least. But what exactly happened in that courtroom? And how did we get here?
Up until now, it’d always been a state issue-meaning each of the 50 states had the chance to decide if they wanted to recognize same-sex marriage or not. But if one state recognized it, it did not mean the next one over would. After a few years, marriage and the sanctity of it finally made it up to the highest court in the land, creating the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of lawsuits against a handful of states arguing that same-sex marriage was a human right. The Supreme Court started hearing arguments for and against as early as this past April. The question was, as an Atlantic article puts it, “Can a historical case be made for legalizing same-sex marriage, or would this be some kind of radical break with thousands of years of legal and cultural history of matrimony?” In layman’s terms, they were looking for precedent. Does legalizing this make sense in the context of the law? And which ruling would be constitutional?
This case dug deep into historical, cultural, and even philosophical parts of marriage over the years. And one part was a constant throughout the entire part-change. The case noted the evolution of the meaning over the years, starting in Ancient Greece. And throughout the hearing, one thing became clearer: There hasn’t been a “traditional marriage” throughout history that’s maintained for more than a century or two, at least one that strayed from the idea of a family with two loving parents and an entity entitled to property rights. We’ve just varied the definition over the years of who was able to.
So how did this decision break down? There are 9 judges on the Supreme Court, often referred to as SCOTUS. Five were needed to make a decision. And after months of hearing arguments on both sides, the majority decided that as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy put it, “No longer may this liberty be denied. 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.” Meaning, they ruled in favour of same sex marriage! It was a close vote though, 5-4 with the deciding justice being Justice Kennedy, and his rationale furthers the historical need for precedent throughout the case.
But is this an end all decision? Of course not. This is just the beginning of an already long, historical fight. There is still more to be done, as there always is.
But let’s take this weekend to ring in one monumental victory and to remember how far we’ve come over the years.
And come Monday, it’s back to making sure all factors of equality are addressed, including, but not limited to, increased homeless LGBTQ youth, workplace discrimination solely based on religious belief, and so much more. We need to continue the fight, even with this one great win. To ensure this victory creates room for more on the right side of history.
How do you plan on celebrating this monumental date? How can we continue to fight the good fight of equality? Tell us below!
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.