The Supreme Court and Your Death Bed – in Celebration of Marriage Equality

After last Friday’s victory in the Supreme Court, I’ve kept thinking about how it’s so surprising that it really took this long for people to get the right to have their love recognized. So, I figured now would be just as good of a time as any to actually get back to [read as: start] blogging and add my personal brand of finger-vomit into the interwebs.

Here’s the issue. Most of the “arguments” still circling around about overriding the ruling get it all wrong. The legal debate has never been about whether certain individuals should be allow the right to love each other. They already have that. Everyone does here in the land of the free. The legal issue was (<-mind you) about whether or not those individuals should be allowed to have their love recognized by the government and thus obtain all the benefits that come with that. I say: yes, they should.

If your own common sense isn’t tuned properly to understand, allow me to give you an example as to why:

Forget everything I’ve just said. Let’s just talk about you for a second. Try to imagine, waking up dazed in the hospital after experiencing a sudden and unprecedented heart attack and your doctor comes in –overwhelmed with grief-  to tell you that, due to your condition, it is unlikely that you’ll ever get to leave the hospital. When you hear this news, you feel the rush of your entire life flash before your eyes and it makes you long to see one person above all others: the one whom loved you for all of your life, you want to be there at your side for what may be the end of your life.

And of course you do –you should; every person should get that right to see their loved ones in the hospital. And yet, for security reasons, hospital visits like this are typically restricted to family members only.

Which means, if say, you’re in 40’s and don’t have kids or siblings –which is common- and your parents have passed: the only family that can visit you is your spouse –this one person whom you’ve loved for all your life; without them, you are alone in that hospital for what very well may be the final hours of your abbreviated life.

This –the issue of equal policy and rights- is why same-sex marriage should be legalized.

Because, imagine again being that 40-something dying of heart failure alone in a hospital, but now with the caveat that you’re gay. Nothing’s different. The scenario is exactly the same except now you don’t get the right to see the love of your life, effectively your spouse, on your death bed,

because they’re not family,

because the government doesn’t [didn’t] recognize you as married.

That’s the root of the controversy over the legalization of same-sex marriage. It’s not whether homosexuality is “moral” or “should” be practiced –people are going to do what they do and love who they love, regardless of federal policy. The debate is over whether the government should provide all of its citizens the same rights with respect to their loved ones.

Intuitionally, you may not think that this issue of policy is huge because the scope of rights based upon marital status is probably small; however, the case is actually the opposite: there are over 1,100 rights granted to married couples.

These rights exist to facilitate the role and importance of love in our society. To deny these rights to couples who depend on and love each other the same way as married couples do and are functionally equivalent to married couples is not just hypocrisy, it’s unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Likewise, same-sex Marriage should not just be legalized for the sake of being consistent with marital status policy but, moreover, because denying homosexual individuals the right to marry itself is a form of unjust discrimination to them under even our current laws.

As far back as 1888, the Supreme Court ruled, in Maynard v. Hill, that marriage is “the most important relation in life” and “the foundation of family and society without which there…” is “…no civilization”. Here, 125 years ago, it was established that by denying an individual marital status, you are denying them the very human civility fundamental to our society.

More recently, developing on this idea, in 1967’s the act of Loving v. Virginia, it was established that “the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the.. pursuit of happiness…” and, later in ’74, that the ”freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

That is: This right to unrestricted personal choice in whom we are permitted to marry is the right to be free from the government dictating whom you can love. It is the right to pursue unrestricted happiness.

And, finally, in 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled once and for all that:

“[i]n forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were … marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

No law is going to change how people behave in their own home: who we choose to love and who we choose to spend the rest of our lives with; and now everyone gets to show their profound respect for that love.
Now, there is no longer a divide between federally-approved marriage and “gay-marriage”. It’s just marriage. It’s just love.