The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to begin discussions regarding the status of same-sex marriages throughout the country, and while such unions are legal in the majority of America, there are still states that will not recognize them.
As of the beginning of the year, there are a total of 36 states in the U.S. that have legalized marriages between same-sex couples. In other words, 72 percent of our country recognizes that marriages between gay and lesbian couples are legal and protected by the law of those states. This, of course, also means that the remaining states still do not recognize the legality of such couplings and are actively enforcing a ban on such marriages.
Over the past 12 years, states have been changing their stances regarding same-sex marriages. As early as 2003, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize marriage between two members of the same gender, and such decisions have snowballed and grown from state to state, culminating last January, with Florida deciding to join in the decision to legalize such marriages. But, regardless of the progress we have seen, there are states that have not accepted that this is what is right and just and are continuing to cling to their antiquated point-of-view, and the Supreme Court has had enough.
Announced in the middle of January, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan, four of the states that are adamantly insisting that their bans against same-sex marriages be upheld. Of the 14 states that continue to work against same-sex couples being able to wed, these four are the final holdouts. The other 10 states, ranging from Alabama to South Dakota, have had their bans struck down by lesser federal courts. So there is some progress in these holdout states, and the close-minded fear that permeates these bans seems to be lifting, simply at a slower pace than we have seen in other states.
The issue that the court will be deciding is whether or not same-sex couples rights to marry should be protected by the Constitution on a nationwide level, or if individual states will be able to further ban such marriages. For the past 12 years the country has evolved at an amazing rate. Prior to 2003, no state in the country allowed same-sex couples to legally wed.
In 2015 we can see more than half the country opening its eyes to the injustice and inequality that is being aimed at men and women who simply wish to be legally recognized, by their state and federal governments, as lawfully wedded couples. We tend to forget in California, especially in the Bay Area, that equal rights and open-mindedness are not readily available throughout much of the remaining United States. Keep this at the forefront of your mind as April approaches, and let it be known where you stand in regards to the issue on the table. Should same-sex marriages be recognized and protected as vehemently as marriages between heterosexual couples? Absolutely, and it’s about time the justices of the Supreme Court understood that and put this issue to rest.