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Rights

Today the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing arguments in the case Obergefell v Hodges.  In this case, the court will decide two questions.
1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

I can't describe how excited I am.  I've been following along on the live blog.  I plan to listen to the audio of the argument later today when I have time.  Tears started to well up in my eyes as I thought about it.  This will definitely be an historic case, at least if it is decided in favor of equality.

I think that perhaps some of my heterosexual friends will understand, but I doubt many will, just how much this means to me.  It's thrilling.  It's invigorating.  To think that we're this close to seeing the day when marriage equality is a reality all over the country is truly amazing.

What does this case mean to me?  It won't change my relationship with Conrad.  Nothing the government can do will change that.  But it will change society.  It will send the message that gay couples are normal.  That gay people are normal.  It will, in essence, normalize gay marriage.  It will assert that marriages consisting of two people of the same sex are just as valid and acceptable as those consisting of two people of the opposite sex.

I remember when I was younger at one point my dad said "There's no such thing as black rights, or women's rights, or gay rights.  Just human rights."  And he's right.  That's true.  But I think that when conservative people say that they mean something different than when a liberal says that.  They often mean "Therefore, there's no need for civil rights movements." which is demonstrably false.  The reason for the black movement, the feminist movement, the gay rights movement, all of those, is because we do not have equal rights.

There was a point in US history where women could not vote.  There was a time when black people could not vote.  There was a time when black people only counted as three-fifths of a person on the census.  And currently gay people do not have the right to marry--not nationwide.  This will be monumental.  We need movements for specific groups of people such as blacks, gays, and women, because these groups do not currently have equal rights.  We need to change the law so that we do have equal rights.  And that's what the marriage equality movement is all about.

It will likely be near the end of June before the court announces its decision on this case.  Most people speculate that the court will decide 5-4 or 6-3 in favor of equality.  I hope that this is the case.  If the court decides that marriage is purely a state's rights issue then it may be years or decades before some states allow equality.  However, I know that it will eventually happen.  Twenty years ago, public opinion was 27% in favor of marriage equality and 68% against.  More recent polls show that those numbers have nearly flipped.  For the last three or four years, polls have shown that a majority of Americans favor marriage equality.  And those numbers will continue to rise until just a small percentage of radical conservatives oppose it.

I will marry my boyfriend.  It will be a fabulous (albeit small and quiet) gay wedding.  We will invite the people who are near and dear to us.  It will be a happy celebration.  Not just a celebration of our union, but a celebration of the triumph of equality becoming the law of the land.  We will celebrate finally being recognized by the government as equal.  We will celebrate future generations of gay youth who will be raised in an environment much more conducive to them living an authentic and normal life.  We will celebrate one step closer to a "more perfect union."

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