Supreme Court Should Overturn Prop 8

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This article was published by Neon Tommy in March 2013.

California’s heated Proposition 8 debate and and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has returned to the Supreme Court’s attention, prompting gay-marriage supporters to paradein Washington D.C. and change their Facebook pictures to an equal sign. People should continue to manifest against gay-marriage intolerance, and the Supreme Court should recognize gays’ rights to participate in the institution of marriage.Se 

On Tuesday, justices heard Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer for Proposition 8 supporters, and Theodore B. Olson, a lawyer on behalf of gay marriage supporters.

Mr. Cooper rapidly became trapped in his argument that marriage’s fundamental principle is procreation, and thus gay couples should not be able to marry. He argued that “redefining marriage as a genderless institution will … refocus the purpose of marriage … from the raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults.”

However, Justice Kagan challenged Cooper’s argument by pointing out the existence of infertile couples and elderly couples who can no longer procreate. Justice Ginsburg also mentioned imprisoned people’s right to marry, even though they cannot procreate under such circumstances.

Declining heterosexual couples’ marital rights on the basis of procreation is considered unconstitutional. In the same way, gay couples should not be barred from marriage because they cannot procreate. Marriage goes beyond procreation: it is based on love, care and the creation of a family, which includes the possibility of adoption. But it also provides legal rights and responsibilities essential to gaining a “marriage status” in society.

In fact, David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, lawyers in defense of gay marriage, wrote in a brief to the Supreme Court that “plaintiffs agree with proponents that marriage is a unique, venerable and essential institution. They simply want to be a part of it – to experience all the benefits the court has described and the societal acceptance and approval that accompanies the status of being ‘married.’”

CBS News poll released Tuesday shows that 53 percent of Americans support gay marriage. It will be the Supreme Court’s job to base its decision on constitutionality, but public opinion will likely also have an impact on the case. This Wednesday, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, once considered to hold a decisive vote, showed stronger resistance towards the Defense of Marriage Act and suggested support for gay marriage.

The Supreme Court has to acknowledge Proposition 8’s, as well as DOMA’s, unconstitutional discrimination against a class of people based on their sexual orientation, and allow California to once again embrace open-mindedness and tolerance.