History is very, very close to being made, Fangirls. Hopefully. The Supreme Court is preparing to decide on nationwide marriage equality within the next few days, in a case titled Obergefell v. Hodges. It is a ginormous deal. But there is a lot more on the line with it, and a lot more than just a yes or a no. For many, it also runs much deeper than the ability to get married.
I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, Fangirls. Around 13 or 14, when I was on the brink of defining my own sexuality and busting out of the closet, watching the state by state fight for marriage equality is something that gave me the push of confidence I needed to embrace my gayness. I saw these people fighting so hard to have equal rights. I knew that I was one of those people, and that I needed to say that, own it, and that I was going to fight so goddamn hard. I needed to fight alongside my community. There was no better feeling than when New York was granted marriage equality. After rallies and lobbying and hoping really, really hard, it’s hard to describe a feeling that good. Equality is probably the best drug out there. I’m trying to imagine that on a national scale, now. I’m hoping that within the next week I’ll get the chance to explode with that much happiness. But first, there’s a lot of bases to cover with this Supreme Court case.
So, Obergefell v. Hodges is the consolidation of a few different cases, all regarding a few different state’s rules on same-sex marriage. The court heard arguments for this case on April 28th, 2015, and is now set to decide any day now. The court has until the end of their term on June 30th to release a verdict, and are most likely going to wait until then because they like to torture us. So, how does this case work? How does the decision on four different cases somehow translate to a nationwide decision on marriage? Well, because they are all alike and dealing with the same issues, the court has consolidated the cases into two questions;
1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
There are three possible outcomes to these questions, Fangirls. Some rock a lot more than others.
Scenario #1: A yes to the first question will make the second question irrelevant. With a yes to question one, there will be marriage equality in all 50 states and I will cry like a happy little baby.
Scenario #2: A no to the first question but a yes to the second question will mean a few things. Some states will maintain marriage rights, others will have to go through the process of obtaining them again, however all legally married gay couples will be recognized in all 50 states.
Scenario #3: No to both questions will suck. Some states will be stripped of their marriage laws, others are able to keep them. Marriage equality for now would be left up for only the states to decide, and marriage between a gay couple would only be recognized in the state it was obtained. We’re hoping for scenario one, Fangirls. Hoping really, really hard. Now, there’s some stuff in there I want t breakdown just a little bit more. Some scenarios take marriage rights away from some states, but not all. That has to do with how an individual state obtained it’s marriage rights. Sometimes, a state government rules on it itself various ways, and sometimes the state government rules it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage. With some of these scenarios, states that have granted marriage equality through an unconstitutional ruling with lose their marriage equality rights and have to start again.
I am armed with sparklers for the outcome of the case on decision day. It will be any day now, and the suspense is nearly crippling. I want this so bad, Fangirls. As a gay woman, this is about so much more than being able to get married everywhere and have it be recognized. It’s about being acknowledged and respected by my country. It’s about a feeling of being seen and heard, having needs that my government recognizes and achieves for me. It’s a feeling of being equal. When that verdict comes, I hope I’ll be out in the streets shouting and lighting up my sparklers, not disappointed instead. Either way I’ll be crying.
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