Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Written by Alexander Cheves
At the federal level, the fight for same-sex marriage is won. Now we’re just waiting on the straggling states that, red-handed, keep lingering in their dusty pasts. But Utah, a state with a long history of anti-gay opposition, just legalized. It just goes to show you that even a state with a bad record can change its ways. Georgia, you let Utah beat you to the punch.
Last Monday, the biggest step forward for national marriage equality happened in this country. In several states, lower court judges had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. The conservatives in those states didn’t like that, so they took appeals cases of those rulings to the Supreme Court.
And the Supreme Court decided without explanation that it would not hear the cases. Rather than deciding the issue of same-sex marriage – which everyone thought they would – they simply turned their back on the whole debate, letting current rulings in the states stand. By doing so, they essentially paved the way for marriage equality in those states.
“The Supreme Court may well be feeling that the federal judges around the United States are all coming to the same conclusion, and it’s not necessary to intervene,” Theodore Olson said. Olson is a former U.S. solicitor general who represented some of the Virginia plaintiffs. “This is coming to the whole United States, and it’s coming soon.”
As of Thursday, these are the facts in your country, ladies and gentlemen: In 26 states and in Washington, D.C., same-sex couples can legally marry. And in eight more states, federal appellate rulings have set a binding precedent in favor of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage will soon be legal in those states, too. Eight other states have progressive judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality, with many of their rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts.
According to Freedom to Marry, a national organization that keeps track of all this, nearly 55% of the U.S. population now lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, and over 64% of the U.S. population soon will. We have more than reached the halfway mark. Indeed, we have passed it.
As a young gay man, I live my life in queer culture, so the idea of two men or two women marrying seems completely benign to me, so natural that I don’t really think about it. In fact, it almost seems conservative—a little old-fashioned—the idea that marriage of any sort still exists in an age of sex clubs. Darwin and Nietzsche effectively killed God in the previous century, and I thought surely the institutions He allegedly founded would follow suit in this one. But time-worn ideas, like gods, take a long time to die, and marriage is still an active concept that, unbelievably, some people are still debating.
What alarms me every time I turn on the news – and what makes me a little scared – is that, to many people in this country, the concept of two men marrying is frightening, dangerous and worthy of punishment. Many people out there genuinely believe my relationships in some way threaten their happiness or the ideas they hold dear.
Normally, the activities two people do with their time don’t affect someone else, unless the activity involves some kind of violence. Marriage and dating aren’t violent actions and don’t affect anyone but those in the relationship. And sorry, heterosexuals, but the only time I see violence and relationships overlapping enough to make headlines, it comes from your neck of the woods.
If the Supreme Court reflects the sentiment of the land, it’s evident that same-sex marriage is such a non-issue, it’s not even worth debating. Georgia will probably put up a fight, but with two blue-ish cities that are absolutely filled with gay men and women, I believe when the fight comes here, there will be enough voices saying, “Come on already!” to turn the state.