Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Orders Federal Government To Recognize Same Sex Marriages

The definition of marriage when it comes to federal law has changed, but the fight is far from over.

Make no mistake. Today is a day for LGBT Americans to celebrate. It’s the first time that the federal government has said, in a very official way, that equal rights do exist for people who are gay. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Supreme Court, sided with the four liberal justices in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

As you also know by now, the Proposition 8 case was thrown out of court for a lack of standing. This means that same sex marriages in California apparently are cleared for takeoff and it sets a precedent for other states that will deal with similar propositions or ballot issues.

This, of course, comes after a horrible day that was yesterday. A day that saw the same Supreme Court gut the Voter Rights Act that so many fought for in the 60’s, and they did it because they said that times have changed. They said that Congress erred when it overwhelmingly and in a bipartisan manner reauthorized the act in entirety. They left part of the building standing, but they opened the door for so many other things.

This decision today kind of does the same thing. While same sex couples and their unions are now recognized by the federal government, the Supreme Court left regulating marriage up to each individual state. 

The fight is not over, but that is tomorrow’s agenda. Today is a day to celebrate. For now, let’s honor those that have stood for change all these years. Tomorrow we resume the fight for equality for ALL Americans. That includes the rights that potentially were lost in the Supreme Court yesterday and those the Texas legislature seemingly illegally removed early this morning.

I just hope that you will excuse me for this one day, though. I just need a moment. 

I know I won’t soon forget how I felt this morning, and I won’t begin to describe it because it would defy words. In my lifetime, these rights will be bestowed on all Hoosiers, too. I can feel it. In the words of that great old song, “It’s been a long time coming, but I know…a change is gonna come.”

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