Open Thread: All Eyes on the United States Supreme Court

GSE amicus curiae brief. Click to enlarge.

“The arc of the moral universe is long. But it bends toward justice.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King 1929-1968

Beginning this morning, history will be made at the United States Supreme Court. Today, in oral arguments before the Court, advocates make the case that there exists a constitutional right to same-sex marriage that states may not deny. The case is California’s Prop 8, which voters passed in 2008 to define marriage as between a man and woman. It ended the joyous rush to the alter of same-sex couples after that state’s Supreme Court made it legal. The legal challenge worked its way through California courts, now to the highest court in the land. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice is arguing for an “8-state solution” that would bring marriage equality to New Jersey, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Rhode Island — on the grounds that Prop 8 and other “separate but unequal” civil union/domestic partnership laws are violate equal protection. The Supreme Court also hears DOMA this week; it is the law of the land, but the Obama administration has already declined to defend it.

One of the many amicus curiae briefs submitted on behalf of the gay California couple at the center of today’s case comes from Garden State Equality. Read it here. New Jersey is, in all ways except by law, a marriage equality state. By 2-1.

I’ve been thinking all day of the many, many people who brought us to this moment. Among gay people, it is mainly those whose names we will never know because our laws forced them to live their lives and fall in and out of love in secrecy and often in fear. Along with those who spoke out.

Gay people are waiting for justice, in a country that often fails to provide it. Women know this. Immigrants know this. Disabled people know this. Black people know this.

As gay people await these decisions, so do straight people like me. What is right is right. We all live better when the people around us are treated as they should be. The gay rights movement follows a path set down by the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and heroes known and unknown. But it also takes that movement’s great lesson; that we move forward as a nation when we give a damn about the people around us; their lives, their freedom, their opportunities, their happiness.

The arc of the moral universe is long. It bends toward justice. Good luck, everybody.  

Comments (13)

  1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    @SCOTUSblog reporting this, moments ago:

    Breaking: 1st update- #prop8 unlikely to be upheld; either struck down or #scotus won’t decide case. More in 30 mins.

  2. deciminyan

    New Jersey politicians and ordinary citizens argue for marriage equality at last year’s legislative hearings (videos)

    If you watch only one of these videos, it should be the one of the Galluccio Family, right under the heading “Testimony from Citizens”

  3. Bill Orr

    My guess: SCOTUS will slay both DOMA and Prop 8, but leave other states to make their own same-sex decisions.  

  4. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    On the early-winter morning in 2010 as the NJ Senate considered (and voted down) ME, I talked to some of the thousands of people awaiting the vote, asking why they were there. The most illuminating came from Heidi, from Hawthorne. She’s straight, married, kids. She said her investment was in marriage itself. Making marriage what it should be, she said, would let all the marriages in her family, her town and state, and her own marriage itself stronger.

    The people behind this, gay and straight, are so amazing.  

  5. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Oral arguments just wrapped up.  

  6. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Arguments done. #scotus won’t uphold or strike down #prop8 bc Kennedy thinks it is too soon to rule on #ssm. #prop8 will stay invalidated.

  7. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    There was no attempt in oral arguments to defend a ban on marriage equality, only an argument that it be decided in the states.  

  8. Rosi Efthim (Post author)
  9. carolh

    with Scalia about inter-racial marriage important.  Thomas is sitting right there and he is in one at this moment. Wonder if he is thinking on THAT little bit of inequality in our very recent past – inequality that would have directly affected HIM?


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