As the news spreads of the Supreme Court’s decision to decline hearings that appellate the ruling that same-sex marriage bans in five states are unconstitutional, I, among others, am left wondering if the high court’s ruling will prove to be a win for the LGBT community or yet another hurdle. To some, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeals that seek to maintain the legality of same-sex marriage bans may appear to be an indication of the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the rights of the LGBT community. However, I feel that the current conservative judiciaries may have alternative motives.

In considering the potentially challenging outcome for the LGBT community, I am reminded of the Supreme Court’s decision several decades ago during the Civil Rights Movement to give power to the states to choose if they should grant the right to vote to African Americans. Much like when the high court dismissed cases brought forward in the 1960’s regarding the acquisition of Civil Rights for African Americans, it appears that the Supreme Court may be taking a back seat regarding this controversial issue, letting the chips fall where they may.

Although the historical Civil Rights decision enabled the Supreme Court to avoid bias, which appears to remain the primary concern for many people today, and effectively place responsibility in the hands of individual states, it also had extremely negative consequences because of the rampant prejudices, particularly in the South, towards African Americans.However, those who believe that the high court should refrain from becoming involved in same-sex marriage issues may find comfort in the similar course of action. Therefore, I find it difficult to formulate a definitive opinion, since the motivation behind the Supreme Court decision is unknown.

In light of the rising social changes in our country, whether or not we should alter same-sex marriage laws is a highly opinionated discussion. Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, stated, “When the court on such an issue — where there are very strong opinions on both sides, and a huge issue of social change in our country — steps in and makes it into a constitutional issue, it makes the justices look significantly more political in the eyes of the American people.” Some conservative activists agree, believing that the Supreme Court, whose justices are selected for a lifetime position, should withdraw its involvement in decisions pertaining tothis particular case.

As an outsider looking in on the latest decision of the Court regarding this topic, I find myself in agreement with Severino’s earlier statement. I have found that inherent biases do tend to be drawn out when the topic of same-sex marriage is addressed. However, I wonder if by placing the power solely within the states to rule on same-sex marriage, in-state political biases will increase the number of hurdles already present for the LGBT community.

Despite my skepticism, the short-term outcome for the LGBT community appears to be triumphant and well received by the general public. However, the long-term results may create unforeseen hurdles for the community as a whole. In deciding whether I believe that the Supreme Court’s decision will ultimately benefit the LGBT community, and if the Court should even be allowed to influence the community, I am left with staggering uncertainty. However, my hope for the LGBT community going forward is the continued pursuit for marriage equality and that the community achieves the same success as the Civil Rights activists of the 1960’s who fought for racial equality.


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-- Online Editor-in-Chief Emeritus-- Digital Journalism

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