By Belinda Carroll, PQ Monthly
It is a very important Pride season for the LGBTQ community, kids. Sure, the booze is flowing, the EDM is on full blast in many of our various hot clubs, and President Obama declared June Pride Month, which makes it super official. It’s also the month that the Supreme Court of the United States is due to rule on the rest of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).
When SCOTUS struck down DOMA June 26, 2013, it was only a section. It ruled that the assertion that “defining marriage only between a man and a woman lacked constitutional basis” and left the legalization of same-sex marriage up to the individual states. It’s basically like your mom deciding that your bedtime doesn’t necessarily have to be 9pm but then leaving it up to everyone in the house to decide. You’re still going to bed at 9pm if they decide they don’t want to change it, even if it’s just not fair, mom. The ruling opened the floodgates all over the U.S. making same-sex marriage legal in 36 states. Good thing Scalia, one of the only dissenting judges in the ruling, isn’t the only justice. That guy is a real buzzkill.
A positive ruling can mean a few things, depending on how they rule. They can decide that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, and no state can abridge the rights outlined in the Constitution. In other words, states would no longer have the right to deny marriage; it would be, in effect, federalized. Or, it can decide that if a couple gets married in a state that has legalized gay marriage and then come to let’s say, Alabama, Alabama would have to recognize the marriage. (Although, why anyone would willingly move to Alabama is beyond me.) Or, it can decide to keep things exactly the same.
There are a couple of things that point toward a positive ruling. One is that Ruth Bader Ginsburg rocks. That’s just true in general, but she recently performed a same-sex marriage for two men, and at the end of the ceremony said, “By the power vested in me by the Constitution of the United States”— which points to Bader Ginsburg thinking marriage is constitutional. But before we send Bader-Ginsburg a note saying, “Do you like us, yes or no?” there have been other indications, such as SCOTUS overturning 100 percent of the state same-sex marriage bans in the last two years.
We kind of know who is going to vote what. (Scalia against it, Bader Ginsburg for it.) The real question mark is Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has said both that he believes everyone has the right to marry freely and also said, “I don’t even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia. This definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’” He added that “the social science on this”—the value and perils of same-sex marriage—is “too new.”
I’m not sure what Kennedy is afraid of. Maybe he’s afraid of china patterns that are just too fabulous, or that lesbians will use our power tools powers against people. Forced remodels are very scary. But, since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, divorce rates have actually gone down for the state. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the couples who have gotten married were together for decades, which really says to me that we need to do things the opposite way. Let’s have a relationship for years before we marry. Much higher rate of success. You’re welcome.
I think that the biggest predictor in the success of same-sex marriage being legalized is… the Internet. I know, the Internet tends to be a vile cesspool of opinions, but the one thing it does is let people have a clear view into the lives of others (despite the outright lie that is the selfie). People who have never come in contact with LGBTQ people before now talk to them daily on the Facebooks, the Twitters and the message boards. That means a lot of people have more understanding than they ever have prior.
Which leads to votes. According to current polls, the support for same-sex marriage has never been higher. According to CNN polls, an overwhelming 63 percent supermajority has been recorded—incredibly higher than 2004 numbers, which were 26 percent for same-sex marriage according to Rasmussen Reports.
So we’re at a crux in the same-sex marriage battle, and we will win. If not at the end of June, then soon. But it’s coming, and I think that people who want to get married yet have commitment issues should get into therapy sooner rather than later.