On October 6th the US Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage in 11 states by deciding not to hear appeals for court rulings that affirmed gay and lesbian couples’ right to marry.
The Supreme Court’s decision immediately allowed same-sex couples to marry in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Colorado also allowed same-sex marriages the day after the decision, with five other states — Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming — expected to follow in the coming weeks and months as courts force them to recognize the reality of the Supreme Court and federal appeals court rulings. Since 2013, when the Supreme Court shot down the federal ban on same-sex marriage, lower courts have followed in stopping same-sex marriage bans in many states.
The Supreme Court’s decision is only the latest in a chain of victories for marriage equality proponents. In a most recent update, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, although the decision will not take place immediately. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote ‘the majority opinion’, embraced the arguments of same-sex marriage advocates. He concluded that the Defense of Marriage Act violated constitutional protections and discriminated against gays and lesbians by preventing them from fully accessing “laws pertaining to Social Security, housing, taxes, criminal sanctions, copyright, and veterans’ benefits.” With numerous decisions in favor of same-sex marriage now piling up, many court watchers see another Supreme Court showdown over the issue as nearly inevitable. Except this time, federal judges’ sweeping decisions at the state level might force the nation’s highest court to rule more broadly and possibly settle the issue in the United States once and for all. For centuries, religious and political ideologies have influenced the backbone of our social rights. For the US, a country which has largely been influenced by conservative values throughout its history, these rulings by the Supreme Court are monumental. Just like the absurdity of the African-American struggle for civil rights in the early century , one day we will look back on this time and ask, “Why was this ever an issue?”. For now, let’s celebrate this monumental social achievement, with hopeful wishes of more good news to come in the very near future. Much love! .
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