|My Oklahoma License Plate featuring Human Rights Campaign's Sticker (edited for personal privacy)|
In all honesty I did not think that this type of progress was possible in the current political and social landscape present in the U.S. However, what I have witnessed in the US, in the past three days, has solidified my hope that positive change will happen in my lifetime. In the past three days, monumental change has taken place in America:
2) Yesterday: The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as 'ObamaCare', which added to the long list of victories for that piece of legislation - including over 50 failed challenges to defund and/or repeal by the House of Representatives and a prior Supreme Court case that likewise upheld the law. Adding to these legal victories are the costs of the legislation coming in under budget, numerous success stories in patient coverage and care, and a drop in the number of uninsured Americans. In contrast to the intended policy outcomes from the legislation, a majority of Americans (55%) still disapprove of the law.
3) Today: In an historic day for the United States of America, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has found that state bans on marriage for homosexual couples are unconstitutional. Their ruling effectively legalizes gay marriage in all 50 states in the union. The 26th of June 2015 will be a date that lives forever in history. Those who have opposed equality for LGBTQ persons are now officially on the wrong side of history. I have been an avid supporter of marriage equality for my entire adult life:
"To deny a fellow human being the right to express their love for a fellow human being, in an adult and consenting fashion, just because they are a homosexual, is nothing short of hateful and vitriolic. Make no mistake, opposition to marriage equality is nothing short of hate, regardless of how you try and justify it. Opposing homosexuality may be part of your religious beliefs, but you have absolutely no right to make someone else submit to your beliefs in such an arbitrary manner." - Excerpt from my 2013 Article on Marriage EqualityWhat always baffled me was the fact that the Marriage Equality issue has nothing to do with individual churches or their procedures. The argument is just to extend equal protection under the law (See: 14th Amendment) to the LGBTQ community, for rights already enjoyed by straight couples.
|(My girlfriend and I during our 2014 road trip to California)|
The idea of a Democracy Society is to not allow the majority to disenfranchise and discriminate against the innate characteristics of a minority. Enabling discrimination under the guise of 'Freedom of Religion' is not protection of the First Amendment but rather a thinly veiled attempt to enable homophobic bigots the ability to deny fellow decency and equal protection under the law towards homosexuals - and frankly anybody they deem to not be in accordance with their own interpretation of religious beliefs, including Muslims, atheists, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. However, intolerance towards those who discriminate against someone for characteristics they neither choose nor control is a positive social element. This form of social intolerance is the positive force that enabled women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, and equality based on sex, race, ethnicity, or disability - as well as today's victory for marriage equality.
Yes the U.S. still has its flaws, especially when compared to other developed nations, but this recent series of events has served to lessen that divide. Extreme income inequality and an exorbitant amount of intentional homicides still plagues the U.S. Issues like those still have yet to be adequately addressed. Make no mistake, the long march ahead for true equality remains an ominous challenge, but today, the 26th of June in the year 2015, love wins.
Closing Note: This amazing three day stretch follows President Barack Obama's interview on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast. At just over an hour long, I have already listened to the interview, in its entirety, multiple times. The news cycle picked up on one tiny element of the conversation, but the President gives a candid and very nuanced overview of the political landscape in the US. Click here to listen to Marc Maron's WTF Podcast with President Barack Obama