June is PRIDE month and to celebrate…all month long, we’re revisiting the one of the most important decisions for our friends, family, and clients in the LGBTQ community: Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave the community marriage equality.
To start things off, let’s consider the 4 “principles and traditions” the Supreme Court of the United States used to justify its Opinion and, thus, marriage equality:
- “Individual autonomy” encompasses the right to decide who one will marry. See Loving v. Virginia. And in case you’re wondering, “individual autonomy” is legalese that underpins the Declaration of Independence, the instrument that declares individuals free to pursue happiness.
- The union of marriage is a fundamental right because the intimacy of the marital union is unique and depriving same-sex couples from the recognition and protection of that intimacy is wrong.
- Marriage equality helps protect the emotional stability of children borne or adopted into same-sex marriages, by equalizing their families with heteronormative families.
- Marriage is one of the bases of America’s social and legal order. Depriving same-sex couples from enjoying the benefits of marriage, which includes social stability, would be “demeaning.
Individuals must be free to pursue happiness. That happiness can be found in the remarkable closeness of the marital union. Generally, children are the fruit of marriages and children must be protected because they represent the future. Thus, marriage is a societal bedrock in which most adult individuals must be able to participate.
Sounds simple, but it took us almost 50 years to get here.