Note: I am working on completely rehauling the backend of the blog, and it's taking quite a bit of time. Right now, everything you see is static. The backend of my blog has been shut down. It should be up by the summertime (when I have more free time on my hands). Thanks for your understanding.

Love Will Win: A Refection on Obergefell v. Hodges 5 February, 2017

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

- Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

"Generally, the question of whether the equal protection clause has been violated arises when a state grants a particular class of individuals the right to engage in an activity yet denies other individuals the same right."

-Cornell University Law School

Today, on Friday, June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America declared that marriage is a fundamental right of the people. The final paragraphs of the ruling are elegant and illustrate exactly what the LGBTQ+ community has been fighting for for so many years -

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
It is so ordered.

In 1967, the Supreme Court was quoted with this statement from the ruling on a case:

"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

That statement was used by the court in a unanimous decision to overturn all laws prohibiting interracial marriages. In the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, a new precedent was set. A precedent based on equality and love. Today is no different.

The LGBTQ+ community has striven for decades to be granted the same rights and privileges that marriage grants our heterosexual counterparts, and today, we won. Today, Love won. Marriage equality has been granted to every LGBTQ+ individual across the nation, and this day will be marked forever in history. This monumental day will change the lives of countless people now and in the future, and it will change them for good.

As society continues to evolve and adapt new ideas, new senses of right and wrong, and new moral values, we will begin to see a shift in the LGBTQ+ community. People will someday look back and wonder how awful things must have been for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens to be four times more likely to kill themselves than their peers. People will look back at this decision and wonder why it was even an issue, just as we look back and wonder why interracial marriage was even an issue.

The argument that the Supreme Court's decision robs the states of their individual governmental powers is a legitimate concern, however, we have seen this kind of change before. When the supreme court disbanded all laws that prohibited interracial marriage, the country didn't collapse. People simply began to realize that they were on the wrong side of history. They learned, over many years, that there was nothing wrong with interracial marriages. This, too, will happen with the ruling from the Supreme Court today. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has declared something that many states don't agree with, the statistics show that even if it was left up to the states, it would have been a matter of time before everyone was on the same page.

Today will be marked down in history as the day the United States took a powerful step forward in full equality for all, equal protection under the law, and a kinder, more sympathetic society that values the happiness of everyone involved.

Today was a victory.

Today, Love won.

I wrote that piece and published it to Facebook on June 26, 2015 at 9:42PM. I wrote it on my iPod as I listened to my parents talk about how the supreme court's ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges was a violation of the State's right to choose. I listened as straight talk show hosts on Fox News ranted and raged on about this case and the "downfall of American morality". I sat silently and listened as the people who surrounded me in my childhood seemed to almost mourn this historic victory.

I will sit silently no more.

On June 26th, I was granted a right that straight people had long before I was born. On that day, I was recognized by the Supreme Court as an individual both capable and worthy of love from a partner of my choosing. As of this writing, I still have the right to marry another man in the state of my choosing. As of this writing, I am still recognized as an autonomous human being who seeks the fulfillment of marriage, and as of this writing, I fear that my brothers, sisters, and friends in the LGBTQ+ community will never see their rights granted as mine were.

Do not mistake me. Gay and lesbian people all across the country still have a great deal of fighting to do. It is still legal to discriminate against sexual orientation at a workplace and at hospitals in over half of the country. It is still legal for your employers to fire you simply because you mention your significant other in the office. It's still legal for hospitals to bar you from entry to your significant other's room in the case of emergency medical care simply because you might be gay. It's still legal for people to ban you from a business simply for holding hands with the same sex.

Despite the amount of work gay and lesbian people are putting in for the onward struggle towards equality, we must remember our trans and non-binary brothers and sisters and friends as well. This year, over 30 states are expected to introduce anti-trans bills and over 25 are expected to introduce pro-religion bills targeted against transgender men and women. While gay and lesbian people are fighting for the finer details of equality in the workplace and beyond, trans people are fighting for recognition as human beings.

Over the next four years, we need to remember the struggles the founders of our movement went through as we help the members of our community rise to the same standard of equality gay men have risen to now. We need to remember to extend love and compassion for all members of the community regardless of orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. All people deserve dignity and all people deserve respect. I will continue speaking out on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, and I will continue speaking out against hate and prejudice until the world sees us the way we see each other: with compassion.

Love won two years ago. Love will win again.

Never stop fighting for it. Never give up.

Garrett

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