Indiana, the 19th state to join the union, has become the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage after its ban had been declared unconstitutional and lifted. The news marked a milestone in the history of the state as couples rushed to courthouses to tie the knot in matrimony, something denied them until now. This is only the most recent victory for gay-rights activists, who have been clamoring to be heard since the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional exactly one year ago today.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young, responsible for lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana, explained the prohibition violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause. “These couples…are in all respects like the family down the street. The law demands we treat them as such,” Young said.
This is hardly the first time the United States has played favorites since its inception. The segregation of African-Americans shattered the foundations of this country, and it continues to be a problem in today’s society. Yet, the United States began fixing the problems caused by racial segregation well before marriage equality was even addressed as an issue. As the world marches into the 21st century, one would hope the core principle of equality would not even be a topic available for debate.
Women continue to face oppression all over the world. Feminism is more prevalent than it ever has been as traditional gender roles are challenged and the patriarchy turned on its head. Misogyny is not going to disappear from the globe overnight, but at least steps are in place to both empower women and educate men. The 19th amendment to the Constitution granting women in the United States the right to vote should not have even been necessary, but at least this gender issue was resolved. Why is it okay to treat homosexuals the way both African-Americans and women have been treated in the past?
There are some who believe marriage is a religious covenant instituted by God between one man and one woman. There are arguments which propose marriage is solely for procreation, and children raised by heterosexual parents will fare better than those raised by a same-sex couple. Utah lawmakers in particular argued the concept of gay marriage was too fresh for its potential impact on familial life to be fully realized. There is no evidence anywhere to support such notions. Indeed, parents of a five-year-old girl were one of the first couples to take advantage of Indiana’s new law. “I think it’s wonderful my papa and dada are getting married,” Sophia Bovo-Schmokel said. The Utah lawmakers in question were thankfully overruled by the court.
Indiana is just the latest in a stream of states to legalize same-sex marriage after its ban was lifted this week. According to the Washington Post, nearly half of all gay couples in American reside in states where their union is legal. Still, it is abundantly clear the Supreme Court has a lot of work to do if equality will finally be realized in a country which cannot stop bragging about it.
Opinion By Samuel Williams