Justice and Liberty, for allSame-sex marriage is now legal in the United States.
If you've followed me for any length of time, you may have noticed that I don't publicly comment about most hot-button topics. Civil rights for homosexuals, however, has been one of the few topics I've been outspoken about for decades, even tho this issue has never affected me personally. To me, it has never been about "gay rights". It has been about "rights".
In the 90s, I was a strong supporter to allow homosexuals to serve in the military. By the late 90s and early 2000s, I had to make that clear that it meant the right to openly
serve. I spoke to many fellow members of the military during that time, and for many, this just wasn't a big deal.
By 2010, I was a strong advocate of same sex marriage. I listened anxiously when my state, New York, voted in favor of it, and immensely proud that it was my State Legislator who put the vote over the top.
And I was thrilled when, in the middle of work today, +Lisa Bauer
sent me a message saying "WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!", and I knew that the court's decision was in, and that it would match what many people already felt - #LoveIsLove
I want to take that one more step - this is not a day for hate. No day should be. You can disagree with the court. You can disagree with the petitioners. You can disagree with me. We can talk about that disagreement. But that is, and will be, different from hatred.
I've read the decisions. I agree and disagree with some of the statements made by both the deciding opinion and the dissenting opinions. I'll have more to say about the opinion from all sides on the Court. But these statements jumped out at me, as they have so many:"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed."
-- Justice Kennedy, Opinion of the Court"This analysis compels the conclusion that same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry. The four principles and traditions to be discussed demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples."
-- Justice Kennedy, Opinion of the Court"If rights were defined by who exercised them in the past, then received practices could serve as their own continued justification and new groups could not invoke rights once denied."
-- Justice Kennedy, Opinion of the Court"fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."
-- Justice Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943, cited by Justice Kennedy, Opinion of the Court"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.""The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.""It is so ordered."
But I choose to end with a slightly different quote. It was suggested by both sides in the opinions, and was being drafted just 239 years ago."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
-- Declaration of Independence
Today we find ourselves one small step closer to those words of the Declaration being achieved.
(Image from NATE BEELER | THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH http://www.dispatch.com/content/cartoons/2013/06/beeler0627.html