The Curious Question of Same Sex Equality and Civil Rights

The United States Supreme Court is the final word on what is the law of the land. Last week, after witnessing decades of differing opinions in both state and federal appellate courts, the Supreme Court finally decided to rule on whether same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. In an unrelated, but related note, effective January 1, 2015, for the first time in California history, both heterosexual and same sex couples must complete the same Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Times truly are changing. Without question, opinions on same sex marriage have drastically changed amongst the public. Our very own President was against same sex marriage well before he became a proponent of gay marriage. If our own President, a former Constitutional scholar can't quite figure out whether the U.S. Constitutional provides a write to marry under the Equal Protection Clause, I am sure lesser men than him are equally puzzled trying to grapple with this situation.

On one hand, I see where those against same sex marriages come from. The clause was born from the Reconstruction and was originally intended to provide equality to freed slaves. It is also true that in 1971, the Clause was expanded to include women. No court case has extended full protection of the Equal Protection clause to the LGBT community, however. The reasons for this are not necessarily homophobic: additional protection under the Constitution is usually born from undue prejudice to particular groups. Without question, no one will deny that the LGBT community has suffered from prejudice in several forms and fashions. With that said, most would admit that bigotry against same sex couples never led to things like this.

Further, America's long history of atrocities such as this are perhaps one reason so many African-Americans, a group that has historically suffered unjustly for centuries, are offended by the notion that the plight of the LGBT community "mirrors" that of African-Americans. If nothing else, it is probably a good thing that the "Supremes" are finally tackling the issue.

America has shown time and time again over its centuries of history that things do not work the best when vast swaths of states take vastly different positions on major issues. People forget the hard lessons learned from states having different currencies; or from Northern states taking different views on slavery than Southern ones. I believe having a hodgepodge of states with legalized same sex marriage and those with bans on same sex marriage, probably isn't the best for the country either. If the phrase "United We Stand" isn't merely a platitude, perhaps there ought to be unity regarding our marriage laws.

No matter which way the wind blows, however, I will continue to educate myself on further developments regarding marital equality. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a divorce, child custody or adoption, your sexual orientation will not play a role in my ability to assist you. Therefore, please contact us at your earliest convenience.