On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court in America ruled by a 5-4 vote that same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the country.
As an inevitable event in American history, this expansion of the right to marry now makes it so that every same sex couple can now get married. However, the fight to achieve this amazing result has been far from easy.
— My Daughter’s Army (@mydaughtersarmy) July 3, 2015
The history for marriage equality in America is a long one. So here is a long story made short.
It was in 1996 when President Bill Clinton signed the Defence of Marriage Act that same sex marriage became illegal throughout the country.
However less than 10 years later in 2003, Massachusetts began issuing same-sex marriage certificates following a judges ruled that their state constitution allowed gay marriage. This paved the way for a few other states to take notice and to also pass laws that allowed gay marriage in their respective states.
California, being one of the states that allowed same-sex marriage, suddenly had a ban on the issuing of marriage certificates in 2008 when a state referendum deemed that it should not be legal.
These restrictions on marriage equality lasted until 2013, when the Supreme Court had a challenge to the Defence of Marriage Act. This Act made it so that any same-sex couples that were married during this period where not given the same rights that straight couples received. However, after this was repealed the rights that same sex couples did not previously have were given to them.
And this brings us to now. Where every state in America has to issue same-sex marriage licenses under the new law. Yet the potential new leaders of the county have something else to say on the issue.
As expected, Democrat candidates praised the decision with Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton (wife of the aforementioned Bill Clinton) tweeting that she was ‘[p]roud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality—& the courage & determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible. –H’. But many of the opposing Republican candidates expressed their objection to the new law.
One such example is Mike Huckabee, the former governor to Arkansas, who showed his strong opposition to the ruling by stating that ‘[w]e must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat’.
A further example is Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who said that the decision ‘will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision.’
Kentucky decided to not issue marriage certificates at all once the ruling was given, and turned away anyone, gay or straight, who wanted to get married. Therefore they were breaking the law and several court clerks who did not issue any marriage licenses have since been sued by gay and straight couples for not issuing a marriage licence because the new law conflicts with their religious beliefs. The clerks argue that since they have not issued a license to anyone then they cannot be accused of discrimination.
Even members of the public showed voiced their opposition to the the ruling by stating that they were going to move to Canada or England. Bad news for them unfortunately that we have had same-sex marriage for quite a while now yet we seem to be doing alright.
— Sarah Prager (@Sarah_Prager) April 30, 2015
Although this is a major step in the right direction for LGBT+ equality in America, and the world, there is still a long way to go.
Homophobia still exits. Transphobia still exists. And the only way for the country to move away from this is for people to be educated and informed that being gay isn’t something that you choose. Being born as the wrong sex isn’t something that you choose. And that forcing someone to bury these feelings only does more harm than good.
But with all that said, well done America and well done to the LGBT+ activists across the pond.