(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
As a lot of people are saying right now: this is it. The Supreme Court has now decided that it will hear a 2-to-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that is currently upholding bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. What this means is that by June the high court will very likely rule on whether the guarantee of equal protection under the law, provided by the Constitution of the United States, means that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry nationwide. The Supremes made a ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act but punted on the issue of state marriage bans back in 2013, but now they're returning to it. There are now 36 states that allow same-sex marriage and a ruling by the Supreme Court in the upcoming case has the potential to once and for all expand it to all 50.
I've said something like this before but now it feels even more pertinent: This fight is over. Legal same-sex marriage from coast-to-coast is an inevitability, no matter how desperately its remaining opponents try to hold back the tide of change. Just over the past couple of years since the Supreme Court last debated gay marriage, the mood in the United States has changed drastically -- as it's been changing for some time now. The notion of two people of the same sex who love each other simply being able to express that love the way anyone else can is embraced or at least accepted by well over half the population and nearly 70% of the population now lives in a state that allows for it. The genie isn't going back in the bottle on this one. The nature of freedom is that it expands and that it won't be contained once it's been unleashed.
At some point in this country we're going to see a time when we can't imagine that we once treated the LGBT community as second-class citizens. It's going to take time -- but it's going to happen. It's going to happen as surely as the United States as an entity now looks back with a sense of shame on segregation, and denying women the right to vote, and the internment of Japanese-Americans in the early '40s. This country was founded on the idea that all are created equal and that we're a nation of laws, not men. Even if the Supreme Court rules in way that allows the few statewide bans that remain to stay in place, it will still only be a momentary victory for gay marriage opponents. Because, again, this is going to happen. It's going to happen nationwide and there isn't a damn thing anybody can do about it.
You can fight it all you want. You'll lose. And the country will be better for it.