Same-sex decisions called 'historic'

The U.S. Supreme Court made two historical rulings on Wednesday.
Krystle Wagner
Jun 27, 2013

 

A divided court said the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposal 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state, are unconstitutional.

Currently, 12 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.

Twin Lake resident Phillip Perry said he was overcome with joy when he heard the court’s decision.

“For us, it sanctifies that we’re not being told that we are substandard,” he said.

For Perry and his spouse of almost five years, Wednesday’s rulings are more than having a right to be married. Perry said it’s about having the same legal rights as their straight counterparts.

“For all intents and purposes, we function no different than any other couple," he said.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act states that, for providing federal benefits, marriage is “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” and a spouse is only a “person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

The Government Accountability Office determined more than 1,100 areas in federal law where marriage matters, ranging from immigration and employment to tax and welfare benefits. For example, a same-sex couple is denied health insurance and disability benefits, and denied housing, among other things.

“(Now) we won’t be denied those rights,” Perry said.

Spring Lake resident Lynne Deur said the court’s decision turned out better than she had hoped. Although Deur said she expected the Proposition 8 outcome, she was nervous about the conservative court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Deur called the rulings a “historic event.”

“This is the right thing to happen,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Soon after the court’s decision, Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer released a statement calling it “a proud step forward” for the nation, and it affirms the belief that love and not politics should be the only factor when determining whether two Americans should choose to get married.

“I was proud to sponsor legislation to recognize same-sex marriages here in Michigan," she said. "And now, with today’s ruling from the Supreme Court, it’s clear that it’s time to move forward on that process to ensure that same-sex couples have the same rights, opportunities and protections as everyone else in our state."

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, Michigan's ban on gay marriage remains intact.

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states, not the federal government, retain the constitutional authority to define marriage," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said.

However, it could help a Detroit-area couple in their lawsuit challenging the gay marriage ban approved by Michigan voters in 2004, said Devin Schindler, a constitutional law expert at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

"I would certainly consider this to be a victory for the opponents of the Michigan ban," Schindler said. "It does not end the dispute, but it does provide the opponents with additional ammunition to support their cause."

Despite Wednesday’s rulings, Deur said there’s a long way to go.

Perry remains optimistic that the decisions will push other states toward allowing same-sex marriages. The country might not have been ready for it in 2004, he said, but the world has changed in those nine years.

“The gay rights movement and stuff going on is the civil rights movement today,” he said.

The Associated Press and MCT wire service contributed to this report.
 

Comments

WindChime

The war is over. Battles still to be fought, but this is the end of the acceptance of religious bigotry and hatred....at least as far as homophobia is concerned. Reason will rule out and mythology and superstition will eventually die...Praise science!!

Zegota

Benjamin Franklin

I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?

Thomas Jefferson

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.

James Madison

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.

George Washington

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.

Benjamin Franklin

If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?

Lets see, and WindChime you are who?

WindChime

"My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting [puritan]way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. [Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was a British physicist who endowed the Boyle Lectures for defense of Christianity.]It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough deist"

[Benjamin Franklin, "Autobiography,"p.66 as published in *The American Tradition in Literature,* seventh edition (short), McGraw-Hill,p.180]
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England]and in New England"

[Benjamin Franklin, "Toleration", in _Works, Vol.ii._,p. 112]
I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. [George Washington, to United Baptists Churches of Virginia, May, 1789 from The Washington papers edited by Saul Padover]
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.
An alliance or coalition between Government and religion cannot be too carefully guarded against......Every new and successful example therefore of a PERFECT SEPARATION between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance........religion and government will exist in greater purity, without (rather) than with the aid of government. [James Madison in a letter to Livingston, 1822, from Leonard W. Levy- The Establishment Clause, Religion and the First Amendment,pg 124]
..several of the first presidents, including Jefferson and Madison, generally refused to issue public prayers, despite importunings to do so. Under pressure, Madison relented in the War Of 1812, but held to his belief that chaplains shouldn't be appointed to the military or be allowed to open Congress. [Richard Shenkman, I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode Or Not]

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.