For those waking up today in the land of the free, marriage equality has a new definition.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down (in a 5-4 decision) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 was vacated back to District Court and ruled unconstitutional. Legally married same-sex couples now have the same rights as other married couples.
The Constitution has not changed, but rather the world we live in has changed and culture has evolved, along with the court and interpretation of the Constitution.
Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act stated “this is the beginning of the end of the stigma.” This past semester I was able to interview Zach Wahls, son of a same-sex couple, who in 2011 went to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee to address the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa. Zach stated “the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” His video went viral on the internet and voice has soared from there. Check out my exclusive recap of the event the college hosted with Zach Wahls here.
When speaking that night to students he reminded everyone about the issue of the Supreme Court with DOMA and that the main question that revolved around this was “why marriage?” and “what is the importance of recognizing marriage?” He told a story about when his mom, Terry, was who was sick with multiple sclerosis after being diagnosed in 2000. Terry’s pain had gotten worse and worse to the point of almost death, and Jackie (Terry’s partner) had taken her to the ER. Jackie told the doctors that Terry needed solid bendryl, but the doctors would not listen. Jackie was forced to wait outside in the ER while doctors took Terry through multiple tests to diagnose that she had a stroke. Zach said it was the worst pain his mom had ever felt in her life; worse than the c-section without anesthesia she endured when having Zach’s little sister. “They were told that their love is not real love and their relationship is not a real relationship.” The only person who knew how to stop Terry’s pain was kept outside because to those doctors “those rings on my mom’s fingers weren’t worth a goddam thing.” The issue is not just about two individuals, it is about whether we want to live in a country that recognizes the bond those two individuals have. “Marriage matters because nothing says faith, love, commitment, or trust like marriage. This is about recognition of basic human rights.” Rights are worthless unless they are recognized…
I believe that everyone is equal and you should be allowed to be with the one you love without criticism from the rest of the world. No one is better than anyone else, and no one deserves more rights than anyone else. The Constitution was made for all human beings, “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” It comes down to treating other people the way we want to be treated. If we stop treating people the way we want to be treated and start putting labels on everyone, we lose the respect we have for one another, and create a division.
I think in today’s society we are more excepting of diversity from race, ethnic group, and gender orientation. You should not have to go through the day pretending to be somebody you are not. No one should feel ostracized from the group, shamed, or that they have to hide from who they are. Accepting people for who they are is one of the first steps towards creating a more equal world. Now that same-sex marriage will be legally recognized it will create change not only in homes and family units, but in communities where children who have felt like outcasts can somehow feel a little more comfortable fitting in with the group.
For those of you who follow me on twitter-@Just_Gabi, I asked the question..
“Have we changed the world we live in, or has the world we live in changed us??”
What are your thoughts based on all that has been going on these past few days?
I think we as a society have changed the world we live in, which in turns changes the people we are. We as people make decisions and those decision have effects on our lives. For example, something (on a minuscule scale) as simple as buying ice-cream at the grocery store every week (a decision) changes not only what I will be eating for dessert each night, but also changes me in a way that maybe I will not like the flavor I choose one week and not buy it again, OR I may become an avid fan and stay loyal to the flavor another week. All of the decisions we make have effects not only on ourselves, but others. So how do you change the world you live in, OR how does it change you?
There are so many answers and ways you can interpret this question. BUT for the topic at hand, the ruling on DOMA and Prop 8 is going to have a huge change in society where now marriage and family in general will be not only be viewed, but be recognized as one of many different kinds…and all are viewed as equal. Imagine a world where we all live as one..
Thanks for reading 🙂