When is it time to throw in the towel and accept that the tide has turned? Napoleon must have asked himself this very question after being humiliated in the Battle of Waterloo and summarily exiled for the remainder of his life. It's also the same question many anti-gay marriage activists must be asking themselves after the Supreme Court refused to wade back into the gay marriage debate. Both of these groups had a seemingly all powerful force and years of victories on their sides and both struggled to acknowledge the changing world around them, which led to their ultimate and inevitable demise.
The Courts refusal to intervene nearly doubled the number of states that allow gay marriage overnight. You read that correctly—the Supreme Court did nothing at all and granted marriage rights to millions of more Americans in the blink of an eye. You might wonder how this can be. How can the Supreme Court do nothing at all and still do something so huge? It's actually quite simple if you look at the case they were looking at. The Supreme Court was asked to grant an emergency appeal to the states effected by recent federal appeals court cases throwing out their states gay marriage bans. The court, without comment, decided to let those appeals court rulings stand. All of the courts in the states this ruling applies to must now abide by the ruling.
This doesn't mean that the Supreme Court is done visiting this debate. Every appeals court that has ruled on gay marriage has been in agreement, which means that the Supreme Court is able to hide behind legal jargon and not be forced to issue a definitive ruling. That will change when and if an appeals court rules in another way, which is all but certain when some of the more conservative courts have their say. The Court will basically be forced to step in to settle that dispute whenever that does happen.
There are plenty of reason to be optimistic that the Supreme Court will side with those seeking to marry the person they love once it issues a definitive ruling on the matter. All one needs to do is look at Justice Kennedy's majority opinion striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. It was very explicit in nature by concluding DOMA violated the 5th Amendment because it treated gay individuals as citizens “living in marriages less respected than others.” I think it's highly unlikely for Justice Kennedy to reverse course and side with those wishing to prevent two people who love each other from getting married in any future case.
Another thing that we can't look over is that the country is changing. We may have a conservative court, but the tide has turned rapidly when it comes to marriage equality. A solid majority of Americans now think that marriage equality is a fundamental right and that number continues to climb with each poll taken on the matter. More and more Americans are coming around to the belief that marriage is a fundamental right in this country regardless of the sex of your spouse. That is a huge milestone and one that we should all be proud of.
While we have a lot to be excited about, now is not the time to take our eye off the prize. There are still nineteen states that won't allow two people who love each other to marry. These individuals can not visit their partner in the hospital if they become ill; they can not collect their partner's Social Security benefits; and they continue to be treated like a second class citizen in their own country. It's time for all of us to fight for all of those who still don't have the right to marry the person they love and we can't stop until every individual has the most basic of fundamental rights, which is to be with the person they love without having the government interfering in their private lives.
Get involved in the cause of marriage equality by voicing your support for people in those states who continue to pick and choose who can marry in their states.
Search for organizations fighting for equality in your state by clicking HERE
Then make your voice heard by contacting the Governors Office of the states that still ban gay marriage and let them know it's time to extend this right to every American.
List of Republican Governors
List of Democratic Governors
Then get involved! Give your voice, your time, and your heart to these causes. Marriage equality is going to be the law of the land sooner or later. Let's all make it sooner rather than later.