This morning the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether or not same-sex couples have a constitutional right to get married, and whether or not states must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, including outside the United States.
The outcome of this case will have a very profound effect on millions of people regardless of their orientation or marital status, and it will also signify the state of this nation in terms of the social and civil contract we have with both our government and each other. I’ve been trying to think of a case that has been heard before the Court in my lifetime that could have a larger impact on me personally, and at the moment, I can’t come up with one.
I don’t have a stake in this case at the moment. I do not have a partner (hope springs eternal, however), and I am presently living in a state where marriage equality exists by court order. But the very idea that something as fundamental as the legal and social contract between two people embodied in the idea of marriage, be it blessed by a religious body or simply a contract signed in front of witnesses at a courthouse, should be unavailable to me because my genetic makeup has programmed me to love someone of the same sex goes against everything I believe this nation stands for: the simple idea that all people are equal under the law. That is the basis of all the other rights and laws enumerated in the Constitution, along with the idea that those rights are not granted by the government but by the people. If I cannot be treated the same way as everyone else for no other reason than an innate quality such as sexual preference, then the rest of those rights, however noble, are meaningless.
I don’t want to rehash in depth every argument I’ve made about marriage equality since I started writing this blog; that marriage is a contract, not just a religious rite; that churches and organized religious bodies have had the right to refuse their rites to those they don’t embrace long before same-sex marriage came along; that anything less than full recognition is separate-but-equal all over again. The cases have been made again and again at every level of both legal and social adjudication by people much more versed in the law than me.
As I noted, I do not at present have a need to be granted the right to get married to the man I love. But there should be nothing to prevent that from happening should I be so fortunate — and blessed — to find myself wanting to avail myself of it.