LGBT Rights and the Supreme Court

DOMA and the SCOTUSMuch progress towards full LGBT rights was achieved last year; marriage equality was won in several states, bringing the total to nine (Maryland, Iowa, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia). Additionally, a hate crimes law was enacted, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended and, for the first time ever, a sitting President stated his full support for marriage equality and instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was enacted in 1996. Now, the battle moves to the highest court in the land; the next big fight on the issue of equality will take place in the US Supreme Court next week.

Acceptance is still far too slow on a state level and it doesn’t help when high-profile officials turn away from the inevitable. As an example, last year before he started winning post Hurricane Sandy-related popularity contests, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a marriage equality bill. It didn’t matter that a clear majority supported the measure; 57% of New Jersey residents are in favour of marriage equality. More recently, just a couple of days ago, when presented with the issue of discriminatory ‘treatment’ to ‘cure the gay away’, Christie said he wasn’t sure that he should sign a bill that bans widely-denounced ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors — the ‘treatment’ that experts note as both psychologically and physically harmful. In a single statement, by not banning a treatment that is based on the belief that being gay is some kind of condition or a disorder, Christie reminded all of his new-found fans that he’s no moderate on the issue of LGBT rights, and that we still have a long way to go before full equality is reached.

This is why it’s now up to the US Supreme Court to move forward. During the week of March 25th, the justices will hear arguments that will lead to a decision on whether or not the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional. So far, two federal appeals courts have already declared DOMA unconstitutional and the Supreme Court should do the same.

Marriage is an undeniable human right. All loving, committed couples must be able to take part in it for the sake of fairness and equality.

It’s time DOMA ends because, simply put, discrimination on any level is just plain wrong.

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Image source: InsideCounsel.com