Dear Commons Community,
The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments today on same-sex marriage marking a decisive moment for gay rights in this country. The main case is over the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“The struggle for African-Americans’ rights, symbolized by the bloody 1965 Selma march, is as old as the nation. The effort for American women’s rights began at Seneca Falls, N.Y., more than 150 years ago.
The modern fight for gay rights is, by contrast, less than a half-century old, dating from the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York. But this week, as the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases on same-sex marriage, the speed and scope of the movement are astonishing supporters.
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” President Obama said in his Inaugural Address in January, in a moment of history for gay men and lesbians, who were included in such a speech for the first time. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
As far as possible outcomes: The court may decide the Constitution requires all states to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. At the other extreme, the court may say the Constitution is silent on the question, leaving states free to allow or reject same-sex marriage.
The court could also adopt a rationale that would apply only to California along the lines of the one endorsed by the Ninth Circuit Court. Or it could dismiss the case for want of standing, which would probably effectively allow same-sex marriages in California.
Much at stake!