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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Legalizing same-sex marriage long overdue

In the weeks leading up to the 2008 election, every street was filled with campaign signs advocating or opposing various measures and propositions, but no proposition seemed to draw more attention than Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage. 
California voters set back marriage equality supporters by passing Proposition 8, thus banning gay marriage in California. However, in 2012, marriage equality experienced groundbreaking victories elsewhere in the country when voters legalized gay marriage in three states: Maryland, Maine and Washington. 
Despite these three states adding to the six (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont), plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage was already legalized,
 
California’s Proposition 8 remains as discriminatory as ever and proves to be behind the times. The recent successes in the November 2012 elections, though, should help move the fight for marriage equality in the right direction. 
 
The victories for same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington reflect a shift in public opinion. Prior to these elections, same-sex marriage had only been approved by legislative or court decisions. Voters demonstrated the way our country needs to head: toward basic human rights for all Americans. 
 
As stated in the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, states do not have the power to deny citizens equal protection of the law, including the rights to life, liberty and property. States therefore cannot deny marriage, a civil right, to any American. 
 
Making same-sex marriage illegal prohibits people from practicing their full rights as American citizens. A person’s sexual orientation does not make them any less American or any less deserving of equal rights. Marriage must be a right available to all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. 
 
The possibility of marriage equality throughout the entire nation is on the horizon. Soon after Proposition 8 passed, marriage equality scored a victory when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San
Francisco ruled the measure unconstitutional in 2010. 
 
Proposition 8 supporters appealed this decision and the Supreme Court convened on Nov. 30 to decide whether or not to review the case, though they made no announcement of their plans and do not have a deadline. If they do not give word to the public by Dec. 7, the date of their last meeting of the year, the announcement will have to wait until January. 
 
If the Supreme Court chooses not to review the case, the 9th Circuit Court decision will go into effect, thus permitting same-sex marriage in California. While this decision would still be a success for California, same-sex marriage would not be legalized in any other states. Nevertheless, legalizing same-sex marriage in California would be a step in the right direction and would encourage voters in other states to reconsider their current laws. 
 
A clear decision in support of the rights of all American people — regardless of sexual orientation — is long overdue. It is time the Supreme Court reviews the case and upholds our country’s 14th Amendment, ensuring all Americans equal rights — including the right to marry whomever a person may choose.
 
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