Just 11 days after school got out for the 2014-2015 school year, the Supreme Court announced that same sex marriage was now legal in all 50 states. Now gay couples nationwide are finally getting married after waiting years for their time of celebration.
“The Obergefell v. Hodges case was an historical decision that marked a profound change in the way our country would treat same-sex couples going forward. Just like the Loving v. Virginia case did in 1967, it put an end to the legalized discrimination against certain couples,” said Billy Bradford, a Castro Valley parent and activist.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the case decided by a 5-4 vote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death,” Kennedy wrote.
“I believe love is love and you can’t deny anyone of that. I think people are afraid of things they don’t understand or are new to them,” agreed CVHS junior Ariana Faizi.
Chief Justice John Roberts voted against the decision, which “creates serious questions about religious liberty,” he wrote. “Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is — unlike the right imagined by the majority — actually spelled out in the Constitution.”
Yet not all religious people oppose the court’s ruling.
“I wholeheartedly support marriage rights for the LGBT+ community,” said junior James Keith Vega. “As a Catholic I feel like God wouldn’t want me to be a hater.”
Despite the court’s ruling, the struggle for LGBT civil rights is not over. For example, a Kentucky county clerk named Kim Davis refused to give marriage licenses to same sex couples because she said it’s against her religious beliefs. Though she has the right to believe what she wants, giving marriage licenses is her job. When she disobeyed a judge’s order to issue the licenses, he sent her to jail for five days.
“It should have been the end of the story for anti-gay discrimination, but sadly that will continue for many years to come,” Bradford said. “You can see it playing out right now in Kentucky, where a three-times-divorced county clerk is being hailed as a hero by some for denying equal access to gay couples. She claims religious persecution. It’s shameful, and yet Republican presidential candidates are flocking to her side like flies to flypaper.”
Bradford supports employment protection and other legislation to protect the rights of LGBT people. “We need to add the words ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ into the Civil Rights Act so that everyone is protected,” Bradford said.