The Supreme Court decided in June, 2015 that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. The decision was Obergefell v Hodges, and the was one of the most definitive for civil rights in the last century.
A few short years later, this decision, like that for Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed rights to healthcare, is under threat with a Supreme Court more interested in forcing a narrow, restrictive ideology than the law. In response Congress just passed the Respect for Marriage Act. Though the protections aren’t as comprehensive as the Obergefell decision, at a minimum this Act ensures that same-sex marriages would be recognized by both federal and state government, though it could not force states to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples.
Perhaps at a minimum, it will provide a warning to the Supreme Court that no, they won’t be allowed to turn back the clock, and they’ll leave Obergefell alone.
Serendipitously, this week while I was recovering old weblog posts from the Wayback Machine, I recovered one titled “No other word works but great.” I wrote it February 18, 2004 and it was about that brief and shining time when Gavin Newsome and the city of San Francisco, in an act of civil defiance, issued marriage certificates for same-sex couples.
As I wrote at the time:
This news coming out of San Francisco, is the first news I’ve heard in a month, over a month, of the triumph of the human spirit, the fire of those who will not accept the dictates of a hypocritical society, and the goodness of people reaching out to other people.
Enjoy this flashback, and think on how far we’ve come, and what we can’t lose.
The follow up longer essay I promised, also recovered from the Wayback Machine: For those who inhabit the empty spaces of the coloring book.