What better time to reflect upon the state of our nation than July 4th. This year, July 4th comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s deeply divided, 5-4 ruling in Obergefell et al. v. Hodges. Not only does that decision establish a new federal right to same-sex marriage, but it establishes precedent for creating future laws by similar means. In so deciding these rights themselves, this small handful of elite lawyers, citing “new insight” into matters previously unknown, abruptly ended the ongoing political debate for all of us, for all time. This debate had until then been working itself out through the democratic process established by the Constitution.
For all the comparisons between the LGBT movement and racial civil rights, the two differ in that the legislature, with Constitutional authority, through both the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act, codified the rights sought. In contrast, with the LGBT movement, I believe the court created the same-sex marriage right on its own, outside the democratic process.
On this Fourth of July, we may celebrate this milestone victory for the LGBT community and the new freedom it bestows, but we must also mourn and protect against the slow erosion of the democratic process that the Obergefell decision represents.
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