LAW TALK BY SOHEILA AZIZI
“March Toward Equality” or “Threat to American Democracy?”
The US Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, issued on Friday, June 26, 2015, is by no means an end to the heated controversy and polarization over this issue. The decision was a 5-4, and the deciding vote was cast by the conservative Justice Kennedy, who wrote that the U.S. Constitution granted gays and lesbians the right to “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” A strong dissenting opinion by another conservative, Justice Scalia, however, called the decision a “threat to American democracy.”
The ruling is considered an historic milestone for the proponents of same sex marriage and follows a short history of rapid changes over the last decade. It was not until 2004 that states started legalizing same-sex marriages, and not until 2013 that federal benefits of marriage were extended to same-sex couples.
Our nation continues to be divided with controversy and emotionally charged debates on this and other divisive issues. The black and white letter of law can never guarantee a nation’s hope for true equality if “we, the people” do not develop a true appreciation for our human family and the deeper concept of “equality” in the eyes of our creator. ” While President Obama considers today’s decision a “big step in our march toward equality,” the Republican presidential candidate Huckabee calls this ruling “an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny.” Regardless of which side of the debate one may be, the ruling’s many legal, social, political, religious and emotional repercussions call for meaningful and elevated conversations about who we are as a nation and how we use our laws to help define our humanity and connectedness.