Five years ago this week, in a landmark 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in this decision “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. argued that the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.
Had the Supreme Court not acted, it was only a matter of a few years until the last remaining states would have approved of same-sex marriage anyways. The culture was shifting so rapidly that same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized by a single state up until 2004 when Massachusetts approved it. In just 10 years, 35 other states followed suit. That meant that just 14 states still refused to recognize same-sex marriage at the time.
Just within a decade (2004-2014), support for same-sex marriage rose from 31% in 2004, to 52% in 2014, a 21% gain in just 10 years, according to Pew Research. By 2017, support for same-sex marriage reached 62%. With the rapid rise in approval for same-sex marriage, the courts would have approved of same-sex marriage within a few years in most of those remaining states if the state legislatures did not act.
I’m going to take a unique position here for someone who is gay and say that this decision was a horrible breach of states rights and shouldn’t have been done. I personally don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage being legal. If you aren’t hurting anyone then you should pretty much be able to do anything you want. But this was not a decision that the federal government should have been allowed to make. This was a states rights issue, at the very highest. The federal government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all.
Chief Justice John Roberts was right on this issue when he argued that the Supreme Court doesn’t address the issue of same-sex marriage. “If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.” The Constitution doesn’t address same-sex marriage. In fact, it doesn’t address the issue of marriage at all. Anything that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly address is meant to be a states rights issue, marriage being one of them.
This is one of the areas where Conservatives have really dropped the ball, whether you personally agree with same sex marriage or not. Instead of taking a stand against big government, Conservatives took a stand against gay marriage, when it shouldn’t be a government issue to begin with. That should have been what we were pushing nonstop after the ruling. Had Conservatives used this ruling to push for smaller government, the perspective today wouldn’t be the pro-gay party vs the anti-gay party. The perspective today would be the pro-gay party vs the none of your damn business party.
While I disagree with many of my fellow Conservatives on same-sex marriage, I completely agree with the dissent in Obergefell vs Hodges. The decision that the Supreme Court made to ignore the will of the states is a severe breach of the Constitution and is just another example in a long list of how the Supreme Court continually violates the Constitution. We are long past the time of returning back to the Constitution, and that includes the definition of marriage.