What the SCOTUS decision means to me.

The Decision

“What do you think about the supreme court’s decision on gay marriage,” another co-op asked me, not long after I had gotten to work. I just looked at him confused. I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought he was asking if I was either in favor of or against gay marriage, but we had had this conversation before. Of course I was in favor of it. Then it dawned on me, “Wait, are you saying the supreme court made their decision on gay marriage?” I was shocked; everything I had heard suggested the decision wouldn’t come until the very last week of June. “Yeah, they said gay people can get married,” he said. I began to smile as it finally begin to sink in.

Friday did not start very well for me. I woke to my phone alarm going off, and I just wanted to go back to sleep; I had had barely any sleep. I’d been up all night trying to fix both tires on my bike after they were flattened on my way home from work. I finally went to bed thinking I had fixed them only to wake up and find my front tire was still flat. Normally, I wouldn’t stress too much about it. I’m only working part time this semester, but this week I had to work extra hours as I rushed to finish something my boss needed done. Of all the days it could happen, this was the worst.

I looked for the patch kit. Oh yeah, I used up all the patches the night before. Just my luck. I googled the bike shops near me; none of them opened before 10. I had to decide: pay $8 in shipping to have a new kit sent to me in an hour or less with Amazon Prime Now, or wait until ten. I opted for Amazon figuring it would be faster and would leave me with extra patches. It arrives in about 45 minutes. I had removed the front wheel and was cursing profusely as the package arrived because I couldn’t get the god damn tire off. It really is impossible to pry off. Luckily, a miracle happened, and I got it off. I little hocus-pocus and I had the wheel fixed and back on the bike.

I went to leave for work. What do I listen to? A podcast? An audio book? How about NPR? Usually at this point, I’d be at work streaming NPR, but I was really into the audio book I had been listening to, and it’s easier to follow along with biking as opposed to working. Not to mention, I could download the NPR podcast later. It’s just one show, what does it matter? So that’s what I did, and in doing so, I arrived to work oblivious of the monumental change our country had experienced.

After I had learned about it from my co-worker, I felt delighted but also somewhat cheated. I don’t know why. It was like someone spoiled the ending before I got to it. I love the ending, but I wanted to get there on my I own. Obviously, life isn’t a book. The radio is still just another person telling me the same thing, but I think there is something more authentic about it. Although in the end, what does it really matter? It’s done. Same sex marriage is legal in the United States of America, and that is the real accomplishment.

Why it’s a Good Thing

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, opening statements in the majority opinion.

These were the opening words, from Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the majority opinion. Justice Kennedy is right. Whether you believe it or not, all of these people feel like you were denying them equality. You’re saying that their relationships are less important and less worthy of this recognition and the benefits that come with it. It’s a way to express their love for one another the same as everyone else, and your saying that love is less deserving. Why? The Constitution says everyone should be granted the same benefits.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Equal Protection Clause, From Section I of the 14th Amendment

If you object to homosexuality or gay marriage, whether for religious reasons or otherwise, you cannot deny them the same liberties you have. State or federal, the government cannot deprive any person of these privileges.

They lack–I mean lacked–the same benefits provided to same sex married couples. These range from financial benefits to custody rights or visitation rights to an array of other things. But all those things, I think, pale in comparison to the overall demeaning nature of it. So long as you maintain that these people are second class, you will continue to degrade them. As bi-sexual, I share that feeling of being seen as less than with the rest of the LGBT community. That’s why LGBT pride is so important. We have to stand up and say, “No! You are no better than us.” And we have to continue doing that until that stigma of being second class is eroded away completely.

This decision is a big step towards that. Despite all the opposition, I think, over time, this will help to change societies views on it. It’s still a long ways to go and a lot of work left to do. So many people still feel like the LGBT are less than. I have family and friends who I know that feel that way whether they say it or not, and it continues to create a wedge between us because I know how they feel. It doesn’t matter why they feel it, it’s enough that they do. This decision fights back saying, you’re no better than we are. Whether you’re a member of the LGBT community or not, you should stand up and say it too. Say it, and show that you mean it.

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