It's a great victory for the LGBT movement today, and all of America. The wheels of progress are in motion, and equality is not just a nice thought anymore; it's a reality today. The two decisions passed down by the Supreme Court will catapult gay rights to the next level. We've made tremendous progress over the past 10 years, and today's decision will reshape the gay rights movement for years to come.
It was only a matter of time before DOMA was laid to rest. Now same-sex couples can enjoy the rights that traditional couples are entitled to, such as insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors' benefits, immigration and the filing of joint tax returns. And Californians can rejoice as well, as the high court cleared the way for gay marriage in the state, turning away the defenders of Proposition 8.
I've been a firm believer all along that gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states in the next 10 years, and today's decisions by the Supreme Court make me believe that that is more realistic than ever and could even happen sooner. Looking back on our country's record as it relates to discrimination, one thing is evident: Americans eventually come around and do the right thing. Look at how far we've come with equal rights for African Americans and women. The same thing will happen for the LGBT movement. It's only a matter of time.
Perhaps this wouldn't be surprising 2,000 or even 200 years ago, but in 2012 it's unbelievable and appalling that some people are capable of exhibiting this kind of behavior and hatred. Educated Americans know LGBT people are no better or worse than anyone else and should be left alone to pursue their version of the American dream. In 10 years we'll be looking back and shaking our heads in amazement that this was ever an issue.
Even though the Supreme Court clearly made the right decisions today as it relates to DOMA and California, we still have a lot of work to do before we can truly celebrate. Today's rulings still leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court didn't comment on whether there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The decision will also be met by strong opposition from the religious right and others who refuse to accept anything that contradicts our cultural norms.
Shortly after the court's decision, Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the Evangelical Church Alliance, which opposes same-sex marriage, said this: "We're disappointed in the short-term results and the short-term questions that remain unsettled, but the public conversation continues and that's a good thing."
No doubt the church isn't happy about this, but perhaps they should be reminded of some powerful Bible verses, such as Mark 12:31, which says, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these," or Leviticus 19:18, which says, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people."
Critical thinking says it's time to reject the religious dogma and societal brainwashing and open our hearts to people of every kind. Isn't life tough enough without our most cherished institutions attacking us for being different?
Those against gay marriage tend to see it as a vehicle to destroy traditional marriage. Nobody is out to destroy traditional marriage, but if a man and a man or a woman and a woman are in love, let them be in love, and let their love shine and their successful relationship be an example for us all. America was built on diversity, and America's beauty is in diversity. You may not agree with or approve of another's lifestyle, but as long as they're not infringing on your life, leave them alone.
If America is really the beacon of hope that we claim it is, shouldn't that include the acceptance and support for all people? When will the day come when we are all accepted for who we are? Until that day, America will continue to be a second-rate country when it comes to these important social issues.
Let's all look forward to the day when we can say gay marriage is legal everywhere and gay couples are entitled to all the same rights and benefits as traditional couples. The Supreme Court has set a great precedent, and it's time to keep moving forward.