A big rainbow flag flaps lazily outside the gay community center in Manhattan's West Village. It’s a rarity, hand-sewn and oversize, with eight colored stripes. I'm there to meet its creator, Gilbert Baker, a gay rights icon who created the pride flag nearly forty years ago, and is the force behind its adoption as the now ubiquitous symbol of the LGBT rights movement.
News organisations write editorials and opinion pieces every day. One in this state recently tried to turn an election in their favour. Brisbane Times has changed its Facebook logo to maroon for State of Origin in an editorial stance for unashamed parochialism. Today, it will turn rainbow.
It's a statement – an opinion – that readers are welcome to agree with, or not. As always, we are happy to provide a platform for debate.
The Williams Institute, a think tank based at the UCLA School of Law, estimates that legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide could be worth a total of $2.6 billion in spending, leading to nearly $185 million in state and local tax revenue, and creating some 13,000 jobs.
Get ready to see a whole lot of color in your Facebook News Feed.
Facebook added a tool that lets users superimpose a rainbow over their profile pictures on Friday, after the the U.S. Supreme Court struck down gay marriage bans as unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling. Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land in all 50 states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in today’s momentous 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision bringing marriage equality to every state in the country shows that he likes to let his pen soar: “Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations,” he writes, adding that it “demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society.”
The question, of course, is whether it is the court’s job to usher them into it.
After the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday declared a constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples, members of the LGBT community began flocking to registries to make their unions official, revelers in New York converged on the gay rights landmark Stonewall Inn, and marriage equality campaigners found themselves in the unique position of being overjoyed at the news that their services were no longer required.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Cameron Tolle, director of digital action for Freedom to Marry, told BuzzFeed News. “I think we are the happiest unemployed people in the country right now.”
“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, among the four justices who opposed the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to sweep away state bans on gay unions. “But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it,” he added.
After clashing with his conservative colleagues over the legality of Obamacare the day before, Chief Justice Roberts closed ranks with Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito on gay marriage. In four dissenting opinions, ranging in tone from impassioned to contemptuous, they railed against the reasoning of the majority opinion that declared gay marriage a fundamental right, expressing alarm at what they viewed was a historic constitutional blunder.
In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
These comments raise a serious question: Is Facebook doing research with its “Celebrate Pride” feature? Facebook's data scientists have attracted public scrutiny for conducting experiments on its users: tracking their moods and voting behavior. Much less attention has been given to their ongoing work to better understand collective action and social change online.
In our binary-obsessed world, gay has become the binary opposite of straight. According to society, it would seem you can be one, you can't be both, and you certainly cannot be neither. The fight continues for those of us that sit outside the binary. For bisexuals. For intersex people. For transgender and genderqueer people. For those that aren't comfortable ticking M or F. For people who don't aspire to normativity, who don't follow the expectation that two (ONLY TWO) adults (over 18 please) will fall in love (in their 20s), get married (at least $10k per wedding), have babies (not too many, before you're 35) and live out their existence within the parameters of capitalism and consumerism.
Many LGBTI people and their allies in this movement oppose normativity. They are not represented by the Supreme Court's decision. They are the victims of discrimination, violence, and alienation.
A truly equal society would recognise their difference, respect it, and stop trying to force assimilation.
Yes, it's a time to celebrate with our gay brothers and sisters in America. Rainbow is a beautiful colour.
For those Americans who are not married – by choice or by circumstance – or for those who simply do not regard the institution as the apotheosis of adult existence, Kennedy’s flowery prose in this otherwise stirring context, which unlocked matrimony to millions who have been barred from it, was jarring and more than a little depressing.
“Marriage,” Kennedy writes, “responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” It’s one of several sentences in his decision that sound really lovely and warm, but is in fact both cruel and inaccurate, what with its implication that marriage is a cure for loneliness and that those who have not found conjugal recourse are howling into an abyss of solitude that brings to mind Alien and its single heroine, Ripley: in [unmarried] space, no one can hear you scream! Kennedy’s vision of unmarried life is apparently absent friends, lovers, siblings, children; contra the experiences of millions, there is no satisfaction, relief, or fulfillment in independence.
Here is what we should not be doing: adding one narrow, institutionally-defined expectation of adult life to another narrow, institutionally-defined expectation for adult life. The freedom to marry someone of the same sex is the freedom to not have to marry someone of the opposite sex, which in an ideal universe should be tied to the freedom not to have to marry, period.
Exhilarated by the Supreme Court’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas, just like those barring discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin.
The proposals pit advocates against many of the same religious conservatives who opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, and who now see the protection of what they call religious liberty as their most urgent task. These opponents argue that antidiscrimination laws will inevitably be used to force religious people and institutions to violate their beliefs, whether by providing services for same-sex weddings or by employing gay men and lesbians in church-related jobs.
Nationally, antidiscrimination laws for gay people are a patchwork with major geographic inequities, said Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute at the School of Law of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Those who don’t live on the two coasts or in the Northeast have been left behind in terms of legal protection,” he said.
It’s high holy days for the gays. Pride is being celebrated all across the country. From Tampa to Chicago, Boston to Honolulu, cities large and small are getting into the rainbow spirit and drawing crowds of historic proportions.
As we approach New York Pride, the city that started it all back in 1970, we thought we’d take a look back at Prides past. Based on these photos, most of which are from the 70s and 80s, one thing is abundantly clear: Pride never goes out of style!
As the world now knows, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that all gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. It seems clear, from this vantage point, that Justice Anthony Kennedy—the author of the majority opinion—has been working toward this day since Monday, May 20, 1996, when he announced his pro-gay opinion in Romer v. Evans. I also suspect Kennedy, who has a good sense of history, timed his decision to come down on June 26—the same day Lawrence v. Texas (2003) and United States v. Windsor (2013) came down. Or maybe I’m just sentimental.
For some of us, marriage will be a ticket out of the margins. But it would be a tragedy if, vindicated by the Supreme Court, many of us proclaim a premature victory, overlooking those of us who are still left out, and many more people around the world for whom the quest for basic recognition is much in doubt. Betraying our history — forgetting what it has meant to be gay — would be a price too high to pay.
Friday’s Supreme Court decision was a huge victory for the rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexual folks and those that love them. But it may also be a big win for the rights of transgender individuals and their loved ones. In the opening paragraph of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, the court proclaims “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” (Emphasis added.)
The court’s recognition that both due process and equal protection require that individuals be permitted to self-determine—to define and express themselves—has unmistakable extension to rights for the transgender community. That the Supreme Court’s endorsement of a right to identity expression came in the context of a decision on sexual intimacy further suggests that the Obergefell case will have positive ramifications for transgender rights.
President Obama on Friday delivered a powerful speech addressing the Supreme Court’s decision to end state bans on same-sex marriage, saying the ruling “reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to equal protection to the law; that all people are treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love.”
“If we are truly created equally, surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” he said, adding that it was gratifying that this principle was enshrined into law today.
Obama said that the ruling was a a victory for the plaintiffs of the Supreme Court case, for the gay and lesbian couples who fought for their civil rights, for children whose families would be recognized as equal and for friends and supporters who worked and prayed for change to come.
If there were any lingering doubt that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy didn’t fully grasp the struggle gay Americans have faced—the pain, rejection, and hardship they suffered on the path to equality—he dispensed with it on Friday. Kennedy’s majority opinion speaks beautifully to the power of marriage as an institution....
Two years ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the Court’s four more liberal Justices to strike down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act defining “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman. The Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor meant that, going forward, same-sex couples who were married in states where same-sex marriages were legal received the same treatment under federal law as married opposite-sex couples. Today, on the second anniversary of that decision, Justice Kennedy again joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in holding both that states must allow same-sex couples to marry and that they must recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Let’s talk about the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in Plain English.
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