Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Have SCOTUS Settle Gay Marriage Once And For All!


On April 28th, The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear arguments in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Mary L. Bonauto, a lawyer and prominent gay-rights advocate who helped establish a right to gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2003, will argue that ALL states must allow gay marriage. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, the other lawyer, who is a former Assistant United States Solicitor General, will make a separate argument that states must recognize same-sex marriage that is performed elsewhere.

In United States v. Windsor, SCOTUS in 2013 struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The court ruled that DOMA, that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, denied legally married same-sex couples over 1,100 protections and responsibilities of marriage and was therefore unconstitutional. Since that ruling in 2013, more than seventy marriage equality cases have cropped up, challenging state laws that either ban same-sex marriage or its recognition. Currently, SCOTUS is considering several petitions for review.

While the majority of U.S. households polled approve of same-sex marriage, and the number of states that allow it has snowballed in a relatively short time, the actual execution of gay marriage from state to state seems to be in shambles.

Problems with States Deciding

It is possible to be married one minute and find yourself in marital limbo by the next morning in some states. Lower appellate court rulings, stays of marital status, clerks performing gay marriage against the wishes of the state while others close their doors to performing ANY marriages to get around their disapproval of gay marriage, marriage bans decided by voters, all contribute to the uncertainty of same-sex marriage.

Researchers Find Gay Marriage Exemplary

Although same sex marriage should be a right for everyone, there still are objections to it, mostly from the religious right.  However, one needs to look no further than current studies for its acceptance.  In Hara Estroff Marano’s article “Gay Love, Straight Sense,” Psychology Today, March/April 2015, (http:www.psychologytoday.com/201503/gay-love-straight-sense-) the editor-at-large points out that GLBQ couples have learned how to establish and maintain relationships that are instructive for all. They create fluid roles as partners and cannot automatically slip into roles or tasks prescribed by gender.

John Gottman, Ph.D., clinical psychologist noted for his marriage research, found that disagreements are generally nicer among same-sex couples and less accusatory, whether they are talking about mundane or hot-button issues.  More mature?  Gottman predicts that in 200 years, heterosexual relationships will be where gay and lesbian relationships are today.