Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SCOTUS Watch 2015

I had kind of forgotten, for a while, that the Supreme Court is supposed to be delivering its ruling in the "marriage equality" case (Obergefell v Hodges) this month.

Then, a couple of days ago, it started showing up on social media, because there is a chance that the ruling will come down tomorrow.

Here's the thing, though: Minnesota already recognizes gay marriages, so this shouldn't matter, right? I should just keep going on about my life and be fine.

But it does matter, because my home state of South Dakota - right "next door," where my parents still live, and where Christopher and I go for holidays - doesn't allow gay marriage. And they not only don't allow them, but they don't recognize them from other states. So even if we were married (according to Minnesota), if I went home for Christmas with Christopher and got in a car accident and was taken to the hospital, there's a good chance that he could be denied access to me.

So... Okay... I obviously want the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality tomorrow. If nothing else, it would put our standards in line with Canada and Mexico, and - ironically, considering how many people say it's against their religion - a number of other really religious countries (like Ireland, Brazil, France, and Spain) who have already legalized gay marriage.

And I don't think I'm alone. After all, most of the states in the country have already gone that way. Check out the really cool timeline/infographic on this page:, if you want to see how things have changed in just the past decade.

But, since I wanted to be prepared, I thought I'd look into the other possibilities.

Worst case scenario: The Supreme Court rules in favor of bans. This would mean that the 14 states with bans (including those involved in the lawsuit before the Court) would stand, and that states where marriage equality is the law could see that right jeopardized.

Middle case scenario: The Supreme Court rules that bans are okay, but that those states have to recognize marriages from other states. This would be a step up from my current situation when I travel to South Dakota, because although I would be in a weird kind of limbo, relationship-wise, when I'm there, at least a marriage certificate would be binding.

Best case scenario: The Supreme Court rules that the bans are unconstitutional and that marriage equality should be the law of the land. This would mean that, nationwide, same-sex marriages could take place, and would be recognized from state to state.

That sounds kind of amazing, doesn't it? I mean... Even though a number of the states having issues with gay marriage are already mounting legal battles against it, it would still be pretty great. (After all, state governmental officials who have been quoted as saying things like "The Supreme Court isn't the law of the land" can't maintain that stance for long, can they?)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know we've come a really long way. And I'm thrilled that we are where we are.

So tomorrow I'll be watching the news and trying to see what's going on. I'll be anxious. I'll be nervous. Hopefully I'll be excited by the outcome. (Let's face it, I'll probably tear up, no matter what.) And then I'll silently thank everyone who came before to work for equality, and consider how far we still need to go - next week, after we celebrate for a bit.


UPDATE: No ruling today (6/18/15), so we'll keep waiting and watching...

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