Today in 5-4 ruling the United States Supreme Court has ended the decades long issue of Gay marriage by legalizing it in all 50 states. The ruling follows a previous case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA which federally ruled marriage to between a man and woman) and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that prevented gay and lesbians openly serving in the US military. Today’s ruling eliminates the last 14 states that prohibited gay marriage or did not recognize such unions if done in other states.
The ruling’s decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy who was the deciding vote while the four dissenting Justices including Chief Justice John Roberts wrote individual dissents.
I am not surprised by the decision. I mean the Court had already made it legal by overturning DoMA which was a federal law. I am surprised that some thought Chief Justice Roberts wouldn’t dissent and be on the “right” side of history. It actually interesting in looking at what both he and Kennedy wrote as both the bookend to the issue of Gay marriage and the next chapter.
Kennedy writes of interracial marriage and the sanctity of marriage as an institution. He talks about the fact that denying marriage to gay and lesbian couples was a denial of personhood. It is an evocative piece that is an illustration of the Constitution as a living document; one that adapts.
Robert’s dissent is also interesting but in a different way. He isn’t dissenting because he is against gay marriage but against having to decide the case in the Courts. He writes about the precedent it sets that any law created by states can be overturned by simply going to court. As Roberts says the Court isn’t about making law and this case, Obergefell v. Hodges, should’ve been resolved in the Legislature and the States.
So what is my opinion?
I’m keeping that to myself. But I will make a prediction that some states will be looking hard at creating religious freedom laws similar to the ones in places like Arkansas and Ohio. I also expect cases to crop up over issues of whether its discrimination or religious observance when someone refuses to do a service for a gay couple.
So Love wins.