Advertisement

Jim Obergefell Reflects on Fate of Marriage Equality on 9th Anniversary of Landmark Supreme Court Ruling

'It isn’t a question of if a case to overturn marriage equality will make it to the Supreme Court, but when.'

Jim Obergefell

Our nation marked nine years of marriage equality on June 26, 2024. As one of more than 30 plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that affirmed same-sex couples’ right to marry, this anniversary should have filled me with nothing but joy. I did experience joy, but also foreboding — a fear that Obergefell v. Hodges might not survive to its 10th anniversary. 

Over these nine years, hundreds of thousands of couples have married, and thousands of families have formed. Whether they want marriage or not, queer people see a future that includes them. A young woman once told me that, if it weren’t for Obergefell v. Hodges, she would have committed suicide. She found a reason to keep living in that court decision, rather than end her life, and countless others undoubtedly found hope when before they had none.

Marriage equality brought dignity, security and a sense of belonging to people across our nation. Regardless of the outrageous claims made by opponents, no religious leader has been jailed for refusing to officiate, and opposite-sex couples haven’t stopped marrying or having children. Their dire claims of the fall of society have, unsurprisingly, proven to be just as hollow as their claims of loving their neighbors as themselves. 



It is foolish to believe the right to marry is safe, especially because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 with their Dobbs decision, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. This was the first time in our nation’s history the court rescinded a right instead of affirming one. This court has turned its back on its bedrock principle of precedent because of personal attitudes, not law. Justices Thomas and Alito have made it clear that they will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. It isn’t a question of if a case to overturn marriage equality will make it to the Supreme Court, but when

What is at the heart of opposition to marriage equality and LGBTQ+ equality in general? What motivates the extreme hatred toward the transgender community? Why is the LGBTQ+ community targeted with hate and discrimination? In a word: religion.

Just as with interracial marriage, opponents of marriage equality used religious belief to justify bans on same-sex marriage. They conflated holy matrimony — a ceremony blessed by a faith leader in a house of worship — with marriage, a civil right requiring a government-issued license but no religious ceremony. They declared that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, a claim refuted by the lack of bans on marriage between those who are unable to conceive or who are past childbearing age. 

Some religious believers frequently point to seven Bible passages they say condemn homosexuality to justify anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and hate, although same-sex attraction and pairing occur throughout the animal kingdom. Transgender people are attacked because some believers say their God created only two sexes, ignoring the scientific fact that people are born with both male and female genitalia or differing numbers of sex chromosomes. 

Louisiana law now requires all schools to display the Ten Commandments, and Oklahoma law requires all schools to teach the Bible. Both laws are obvious religious indoctrination rooted in a superiority complex, the feeling that only Christian beliefs and traditions are acceptable, moral and just. This is not religious freedom — it is preference given to one religion over all others in the law and a complete mockery of the religious freedom our founders enshrined in the Constitution. 

No Christian has been prevented from practicing or teaching their faith in their home or house of worship. No Christian has been arrested or denied their rights because of their beliefs. That is religious freedom, not the perverted version being pushed by a minority. 

Every person deserves a place in We the People, but that will happen only when our nation’s elected officials and judiciary accurately reflect who we are as a people. We can achieve that lofty goal only when every voter votes in every election. Doing otherwise results in what we have now: a Supreme Court unwilling to affirm equal justice under law to all, regardless of religious belief. 

We must do better as citizens of this nation. If we don’t, I fear not only marriage equality but our democracy itself will come to an end.



Advertisement
Advertisement

From the Pride Source Marketplace

Go to the Marketplace
Directory default
DJ, Photography, Videography, Photobooth. We do it all!
Learn More
Directory default
Tri-Pups, Inc. is a full service Residential and Commercial Remodeling and Maintenance Company…
Learn More
Directory default
Methodist Church - Church of God
Learn More
Directory default
The Michigan Memorial Crematory (family owned and operated by Michigan Memorial Park) is located…
Learn More
Advertisement