Two cases that are currently before the Supreme Court could help settle the legality of gay marriage. Or maybe they won’t. People who wear robes to work are unpredictable like that. The first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, arose from the legal challenge to Proposition 8, a California initiative that amended the state constitution to forbid same-sex marriage. The court is also considering the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples. Rulings for both cases are expected by the end of June 2013.
5 Gay Marriage Already Exists
As members of the gay community know, homosexuals get married whether the government says it’s OK or not. Ceremonies often resemble heterosexual weddings, except they’re typically about 35 percent more fabulous. These marriages are not official in the eyes of most state governments, but to the participants, wedding party, guests and even some employers, their intent and meaning is real. Legalizing gay marriage would, as the repeal of regulation so often does, legitimize as well as destigmatize an act that people are already engaged in.
4 Gay Marriage Does Not Harm the Institution of Marriage
Divorce rates are lower in states in which same-sex marriage is legal, and it’s higher in states that have banned or do not allow same-sex marriage. Is this because gays are less likely to divorce? No. One plausible theory holds that states in which citizens are better educated and in which they marry later have lower divorce rates. States with these sorts of citizens tend to favor gay marriage politically. If divorce is considered harmful to the individual, society and marriage itself, it is the states that have passed same-sex marriage bans where the most damage to the institution of marriage is already being done.
3 Gay Marriage is Good for Society
Many politicians and intellectuals fret that the breakup of the American family is responsible for a host of social ills, from teen pregnancy to school dropouts to poverty. More gay marriages and more children adopted by gay families lead to an increase in the number of intentional child-rearing households. For those worried that the nation’s societal bonds are atrophying, gay families provide a fresh boost of community.
2 Gay Marriage Is the Will of the People
Gay marriage is gaining support. In 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage 57 to 35 percent, according to the Pew Forum. In 2013, there is more support for same-sex marriage (49 percent) than opposition (44 percent). Some credit the “Portman Effect” for this rise. The Portman Effect occurs when someone who finds out that a family member is gay—as Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman did—then subsequently changes their view on gay marriage.
1 Gay Marriage is Constitutional
The Constitution promises Americans life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and for homosexuals who want to marry, gay marriage checks two of those boxes. Specifically, the 14th Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, decrees that state and local governments can’t deny basic rights to individuals based on local preference.