By: Jonathan Itskovitch
Caption: The rainbow flag is the most prominent symbol of LGBT pride. Source: HRC
It is apparent that the time has come to legalize gay marriage throughout the entire nation. The landscape has changed so drastically in the last decade surrounding LGBT rights. People have begun to accept and approve the reality that there are everyday people just like you and me who also happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. While the social climate has changed, the political climate with respect to gay rights has seen a substantially change as well. Just a decade ago, public support for gay marriage was below 30%. Today that number has nearly doubled to a record 59%. Ten years ago, only the state of Massachusetts granted marriage licenses to gay couples. Today gay marriage is recognized by 17 states, Washington DC, and the federal government. That number is quickly changing too. Every time I read the newspaper lately, another state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage gets struck down. These include ruby red states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah, as well as Michigan and Virginia. The fact that these states saw their bans struck significantly increases hope within the LGBT community. Many political analysts believe that legal gay marriage in the U.S. is inevitable, and only a matter of time.
In order for this to happen nationally, the federal judges’ decisions in the aforesaid states will have to go through an appeals process. Stays have been implemented on the five decisions, meaning that gay marriage is at least temporarily barred pending the appeals. Based on prior research on the topic, I expect that the appeals will go all the way to the Supreme Court. As we all know, the Supreme Court decided last year to strike down both California’s Proposition 8 and Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. However, they did not legalize gay marriage nationwide. They also indicated they were unwilling to tackle the issue once again. But, as I said before, I believe that it is inevitable and they will have to tackle it within the next year or two.
When gay marriage makes its way to the Supreme Court again, I hope they make the right decision and rule in favor of gay marriage. The establishment clause of the first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” As constitutional amendments banning gay marriage are based off of religious contexts, they must be unconstitutional. Also, banning gay marriage is bigoted and discriminatory. It is just as prejudiced as the interracial marriage bans in the 1960s. Those who oppose gay marriage are stuck in the past. They are simply uncomfortable with the notion of homosexuality, and that needs to change for them to get with the times.
America claims itself to be the beacon of democracy. However, if we are to promote freedom and equal rights around the world, we should begin here at home. Many European countries have already legalized gay marriage – England did just that this past weekend. America should follow the footsteps of these progressive countries and legalize gay marriage. It is long overdue.
Caption: A map showing the status of gay marriage in the US. States colored in dark purple currently allow gay marriage. Source: Los Angeles Times