The U.S Supreme Court started the hearing in Obergefell v. Hodges only a few weeks previous in what resulted in the polarization of the U.S. states over same-sex marriage.
Drawing on the effects of the annulling in 2013 of the Defense of Marriage Act in a the case U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court is looking to consolidate the petitions of four same-sex couples to seek relief from Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee bans on marriage of same-sex couples.
The plaintiffs mainly make reference to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, asking the Court to decide if under this provision, the state should require to license the marriage of same-sex couples. At the same time, questions have been raised as to whether the state should be required to recognize the marriage when it was performed lawfully outside a state?
This new movement brings back in the limelight the rights and obligations of the LGBT community nationwide. Also, the rights and obligations of the state toward the same community.
Although the debate is now focused on same-sex marriage, it speaks beyond this confinement. The right to free-speech and expression seems to be clashing with freedom of religion and conservatives across the U.S. are drawing attention to the trampling of tradition, protector of freedoms and values that are the fundament of the United States.
So Ohio rang the bell on how constitutional is it to ban or not recognize same-sex marriage. Other states followed in line. Reportedly, the question featured a submission to vote in 35 states under 39 elections. An overall count reports that 61 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of retaining the traditional man-woman definition of marriage. Only 39 percent of voters chose to include a more libertarian approach on the matter and favoured same-sex marriage.
Now, in Kentucky the question that mainly makes way out of the cluster of arguments regards the ownership of the people over the decision, and not that of the court. It seems that 75 percent of the people want to keep the marriage law untouched, with 106 legislators ardently supporting their belief in the incremental situation.
In Texas, the issue of same-sex marriage meets the opprobrium of strongly influential conservative and religious groups. Only in February, a same-sex couple joined the institution of marriage in Travis County. Just hours later, state district judge David Wahlberg found his decision blocked by the Texas Supreme Court. It meant the end for other same-sex couple looking to obtain marriage licenses.
Nonetheless, it is particularly interesting that ten years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages on its territory. The issue still remains divisive across the U.S. What were the conditions met in Massachusetts that could not be recreated elsewhere?
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide roughly at the end of June. Until then, the statement of John Roberts, chief Justice should be kept in mind. If the court joins in redefining marriage, the shift would end a debate that was joined by most states during the past ten years. And it would do well to do so.
Supporters of the much awaited change are still hopeful, despite divisions on the matter in the Supreme Court as well.
Image Source: NBC News