If you haven’t heard the news, here it is: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that all same-sex marriage bans nationwide are unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has written all of the major LGBT decisions from the high court (Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. v. Windsor), wrote the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that has now ended this discriminatory practice against same-sex couples.
The end of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion is already being quoted widely, and it is so poignant that it is practically written as a wedding reading:
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. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
I am almost entirely unable to convey just how I feel about this. This decision is truly a watershed moment, a point at which we can say that we achieved something of great enormity that rights one injustice – and let’s be clear that we are talking about only one injustice among many – against LGBT people in this country. I am absolutely elated, not at all for myself because I’ve been able to enjoy these rights for almost twelve years (and straight people like me have of course had them far longer) but for all of the same-sex couples that have been languishing in this middle ground (or before that, in a sort of “no man’s land” in terms of government recognition). And for the LGBT people out there who have always wondered if they would ever be able to be married in the place they live.
All of the work that has been done by LGBT activists has finally come to fruition in this victory. It’s not the last victory – it very well might not even be the most important one – but it is a hell of a big deal.
And need I even say it? Any same-sex couple who desires a secular wedding ceremony in Illinois can of course come to me for a full waiving of any charges on my services. Just drop me a line.
But for now…let’s celebrate!
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