SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Happy Valentine’s Day! Gay Weddings May Soon Be Sanctioned by SCOTUS
Happy almost Valentine’s Day, my lovelies!
How many of you are planning to spend this Saturday with your wonderful, Cupid-bestowed, significant others?
Awesome. All of the single people want to punch you lovebirds in the face.
But, despite the wave of existential dread this holiday brings to single people everywhere (#foreveralone, am I right?), SCOTUS seems to be in a weirdly lovey mood. In what can only be interpreted as an early Valentine’s Day gift to coupled-up gay people nationwide, SCOTUS dropped a solid hint on Monday that it’ll be making gay marriage a nationwide reality soon.
Early Monday morning, SCOTUS refused to extend the stay on a lower court’s decision that declared Alabama’s ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. Basically, that means that SCOTUS is allowing gay marriages to happen in Alabama right now, despite the fact that the constitutionality of state-level gay marriage bans isn’t on deck to be decided upon until later this summer.
Folks, this is a big fucking deal for gay marriage.
The validity of state-level gay marriage bans are currently under SCOTUS’ consideration, and it’s uncertain which way the court will rule. Will SCOTUS decide that individual states totally have the right to ban gay marriage? Will it decide that that’s bullshit, and all of the states have to allow marriages of all people, regardless of the couple’s gender pairing?
Basically, until this summer, the answer on that is TBD.
With that understanding, SCOTUS could do well to allow states that currently have gay marriage bans to continue on with their marriage banning. If these states were forced to allow gay marriages during this current limbo period—and if SCOTUS ultimately decided that state level marriage bans were A-OK—then a whole mess of married couples would suddenly find themselves in a legal quagmire.
So, why create all that mess? It would make more sense to wait until the decision is final, and then marriages can proceed or not, depending on the official decree.
The justices ruled, without further comment, that the federal district court in Alabama’s ruling could go forth, allowing thousands of gay couples in the state to get married.
Why would SCOTUS do that if it was planning to uphold the constitutionality of gay marriage bans this summer?
Monday’s decision strongly suggests that, come summertime, SCOTUS will rule that state-level gay marriage bans are unconstitutional, and unfettered gay marriage will reign throughout the land.
I’m really hoping that decision comes through in time for Gay Pride. Can you imagine the parties? GOOD LORD. I’m already excited.
For marriage equality advocates across the nation, SCOTUS’ decision Monday morning comes as a welcome victory. Gays in Alabama are happily marrying, and most likely, all of the gays in all of the states will be able to follow suit very soon.
Hurray for all the gay couples who want to get married, for lots of totally valid reasons! Tax benefits, inheritance, hospital visitation rights, health insurance sharing, co-parenting and custody benefits, and citizen sponsorship are just a few of the myriad benefits that legal marriage affords to couples. Signing your name on that dotted line is a huge deal for a lot of people, and it’s a right that tons of people—many of whom I personally know and love—are fighting really hard to secure.
Let’s not forget that marriage is a discriminatory and problematic institution. It’s not the magical cure-all for the LGBT community’s marginalization and disenfranchisement. It’s not even the most pressing issue on our list of things to fix, despite what organizations like the HRC and Lambda Legal might have you believe.
Violence, poverty, unemployment, criminalization, and homelessness are all issues that are—or should be—more highly prioritized on the docket of LGBT issues than gay marriage. Because let’s face it—while well-to-do gay couples are busy planning their weddings, queer youth of color are dying in the streets.
Literally. I’m not exaggerating. Nearly half of the homeless population is comprised of LGBT kids. Trans women of color are getting murdered left and right. This shit is real.
So, while I’m totally enthused about SCOTUS’ hat tip this week in favor of the gay marriage fight, I’m not waving the rainbow flag of victory just yet. No matter which way their final decision goes this summer, we’ll still have a lot more work to do before the queer community can live safely and equitably in American society.
So Happy Valentine’s Day, lovelies! You might be able to get married soon. And then, after your wedding bells have died down, we’ll all have to keep working towards real justice.