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U.S. Supreme Court refuses same-sex marriage law cases

October 17, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) failed to act with regards to same-sex marriage this week after refusing to hear cases brought by five states, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, against same-sex marriage, making same-sex marriage potentially legal in 30 states.

Current Gallup information put 54.3 percent of the U.S. gay population in states where same-sex marriage is currently legal. The majority of all Americans now live in states where it is legal to marry someone of the same gender. This also means the U.S. is one step closer to using the word ‘marriage’ to cover all marriages, instead of the words ‘civil unions’ or ‘gay marriage’.

Comedian Liz Feldman has a rant in which she says: “It’s very dear to me the issue of gay marriage, or as I like to call it ‘marriage.’ You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car, I didn’t gay park it.”

Members of UW-River Falls’ Gay and Lesbian Alliance also do not go to gay school, but go as any other student goes to school. “Potentially, we could have two different laws in different parts of the United States if other Federal court districts, that did not have these rulings enacted, choose to go a different route,” said political science major Benjamin Plunkett.

Plunkett also noted: “In the last 20 years we have seen an incredible change of the public’s opinion on this matter.”

Professor of political science Davida Alperin explained some the various benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage for gay couples which heterosexual couples enjoy. Alperin listed benefits for legal marriage for all people. “Visitation at hospitals, insurance kinds of things, certainly taxes and death benefits, children are more secure if their parents can be legally married,” Alperin said.

Alperin keeps her personal life separate from her academic life as a professor; however, she does have a personal stake in the matter of gay rights.

As a lesbian legally married in Minnesota, Alperin said: “Beyond the Supreme Court, I would say what really needs to happen next are…my benefits and rights are so much greater in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as a lesbian woman, than people in many other states nationwide who not only don’t have a right to marry, but also no law to protect them in housing and employment.”

There is a bill in Congress called the Employment Non-discrimination Act (EDNA), which has passed in the Senate but not the House. This bill would make it illegal to discriminate in housing and employment nationwide. Alperin thought non-discrimination laws would have come before the freedom to marry laws. Our nation though has come farther than ever towards equality.

Amber Stone, co-President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, is thrilled with the ruling and said: “This is fantastic, a victory for sexual orientation and gender rights.”

Stone sees the other states falling in line with the ruling and agrees with Plunkett’s assessment of incredible change occurring in the U.S. toward gay rights, but cautions there is still much work to be done for equality nationwide.

In the future, if ENDA is passed, a person cannot be fired for their sexual orientation. On a Federal level, currently there is no protection for gay citizens.