As I predicted in my blog post in February 2011 about the fate of same-sex marriages and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a new era may be upon us. Nearly two years ago, I wrote about the prospect of the United States Supreme Court hearing cases concerning the legality of same-sex marriages. This past week, the Supremes agreed to hear two separate cases from California: one about the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (which outlawed same-sax marriages by the vote of the people); and the other where a federal district judge ruled that banning same-sex marriages under DOMA is unconstitutional.
By no later than June, 2013, the country will have the answer as to whether discrimination against (i.e., outlawing of) same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court rules that it IS unconstitutional, then same-sex marriages will be entitled to be treated as, and have all the same benefits of, a marriage between a man and a woman. Equality.
It is not often we see such a historic case – one that addresses what most of us know as a basic right – the right to marry the person we love. This case is as historic as when the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional to deny interracial marriages.
Most statistics reported in the news indicate that since Proposition 8 was passed in California, public sentiment has changed and now a majority of the public supports same-sex marriage. More and more states across the nation are enacting laws to protect same-sex marriages. Will the Supreme Court support the trend which many of us recognized many years ago – that same-sex marriages deserve equal treatment? We will soon learn the law of the land.
Frankly, for all of those people and groups who say their traditional marriages are threatened by gay marriage, I will tell you that, in my 18 years of practicing family law, never has a person told me their heterosexual marriage fell apart because gay marriage was permitted in California (it was lawful for a few months) … or because gay marriage is allowed in other states … or because of committed gay relationships. Equality is long overdue.