The Supreme Court Was on the Right Side of History with Marriage Once, Let's See Them Do It Again

June 12, 2013
By Seth Maloney | 0 comments

From: ABC NewsIf you follow us on Facebook, maybe you saw this post. For a brief summary, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that interracial marriage was a Constitutionally protected practice in 1967. How often do we get unanimous rulings on anything now? That ruling also laid the claim that marriage was a basic civil right for all, and four decades later we stand to make total marriage equality a civil right. 

There's plenty to get mad about, but history has given us something be hopeful about.

There are two cases the Supreme Court will rule on this month. One, the Defense of Marriage Act that the Obama administration stopped supporting long ago, and California's Proposition 8. 

History has shown that the Supreme Court will stand up for civil rights, and that can be seen in several rulings over the years. 

  • Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, which ruled sodomy laws to be unconstitutional 
  • Loving v. Virginia, 1967, which found that VA's law barring interracial marriage was unconstitutional, which also overturned the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama and made any restriction on race-based marriage unconstitutional
There are also non-SCOTUS rulings to consider. California's long history with the battle over marriage equality has its own tale to tell:
  • In re Marriage Cases, May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the "...legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying."
    • This overturned the legislature's 1977 law and the initiative that passed in 2000 that both banned same-sex marriage.
  • Prop 8, which passed in November, 2008 with 52% of the popular vote, overruled California's Supreme Court by adding a ban same-sex marriage to the state constitution.
  • From: Christian Science MonitorPerry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010, the Federal District Court in San Fransisco overturned Prop 8, saying the state violated the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution, and had no compelling/rational interest in the law.
  • Perry v. Brown, 2011, had the case moved to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and by Feb. 2012 ruled that Perry v. Schwarzenegger should be upheld, as Proposition 8 did nothing but lessen the status and dignity of gay and lesbian couples. 

There is a definite pattern of courts supporting civil rights and marriage equality. 

The Obama administration wouldn't defend DOMA, and pressure is mounting for President Obama to sign an Executive Order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. The Supreme Court will rule on Proposition 8 in a matter of weeks, or even days, giving the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of couples the right to marry the partner they love, and the millions of marriage equality supporters and activists who have stood up for basic civil rights a reason to be happy. 

Finally, check out this awesome video from Americans for Equal Rights, on their support to overturn Proposition 8:



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