Last week, the fight for marriage equality in the US gained even more momentum after the United States Supreme Court declined to hear all same-sex marriage cases awaiting its review. Instead of adversely affecting the gay rights movement, this stance allowed for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah.
As Kaitlyn from Autostraddle wrote, “Last week, you guys. Last week was out of control for those of us who follow marriage equality cases, with new rulings and orders and opinions and clarifications coming out literally every day, multiple times a day, until by the end of the weekend a grand total of 26 states achieved marriage equality.” Essentially, after since last week’s massive strides towards equality, more than half of the American population lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
Although there seems to suddenly be a drastic shift in a more progressive direction, some states still won’t budge on the issue of marriage equality, and local activists are concerned that the Supreme Court’s refusal to get involved will actually yield negative results in some states. “They went a different direction [and] we’re left with speculating as to why,” legal analyst Kendall Coffey said on the “The Steve Malzberg Show” last week. “I’m surprised and most observers are surprised that the Supreme Court decided not to decide.” Coffey, a lawyer based in Miami, has witnessed firsthand the obstinacy of Florida officials who are standing firm against same-sex marriage.
Despite the immense progress made last week, and the fact that 59.1 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where same-sex marriage is legal, there are still many places where the fight for marriage equality is faltering. Florida, Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, and Kentucky are states that have stayed rulings for same-sex marriage; without future intervention from the Supreme Court, it could take years for these states to budge on the issue.
For now though, the gay and lesbian community can celebrate these small victories within the larger struggle for equal rights. Learn more about the current status of marriage equality in the United States by visiting www.freedomtomarry.org.