DOMA is unconstitutional! So is Prop 8! There’s plenty to rejoice when it comes to the huge leap this country made in LGBTI rights last week, and celebrate we should. However, the fight for LGBTI rights isn’t over, and there are still many more questions and issues that need addressing. Below are two of those questions, and our best educated guess at the answer:
Do last week’s Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage lay the foundation for the legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states?
It lays the foundation, absolutely, but keep in mind that this ruling does not legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. It also doesn’t mean that all 50 states have to legalize gay marriage. All it means is that the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages. However, this ruling means that there is still battleground when it comes to states’ rights and decisions. The ruling doesn’t force states who don’t allow gay marriage to recognize those that have taken place elsewhere, so we could easily have another gay marriage case in the Supreme Court within the next few years.
There is a foundation for legalization in all 50 states, as gay marriage supporters will use this win as fuel to repeal bans and to push through state legislation that legalizes gay marriage. The national recognition, which was a huge hurdle in this issue, has been overcome. It’s now a matter of getting all 50 states, or a majority of the states, to align with the federal government’s stance.
How will the recent Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage impact the 2014 midterm elections?
We’re certainly not out of the woods when it comes to this issue, since gay marriage opponents will ready themselves for this election by supporting candidates who vow to ban gay marriage in their state or to curb gay marriage rights as best they could. Gay marriage supporters will get behind candidates who will improve gay marriage rights and will work to keep recognition intact. Right now, for example, House Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced legislation to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. In 2014, the conversation will be much more about support/opposition, but also about plans to keep/get rid of same-sex marriage. The rulings impact the 2014 midterm elections by making gay marriage and LGBTI rights a major issue for this election and everyone involved.
Since the rulings have energized both supporters and opponents, gay marriage will be a huge issue in next year’s elections, one that will impact how voters’ vote, who will challenge incumbents, and how candidates will campaign and raise money for their campaigns. It will also be an issue in state elections as 38 states will have gubernatorial races and several major cities will have mayoral races, since a majority of states haven’t legalized same-sex marriage. Voters will want to know what these people will do about the issue on a local level. Voters will want to know where candidates stand.
Whether or not this issue will increase voter turnout, or will lead to referendums on the ballot, is still somewhat of an unknown. Republicans have used this issue for years to reach the social conservative base, so it’s possible it will still be used as something they need to fight for. However, in Florida, activists are working to remove the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
What do you think? Do you think the rulings lay a foundation for legalization in every state? Do you think they’ll impact the 2014 elections, and if so, how? Let us know in the comments below!