The US Supreme Court effectively declares same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. What does this mean, legally and culturally, to the World?
[Jakarta, LttW] In a development of anti-discriminatory laws & practices arguably on the same level of Women’s Suffrage of the early 20th century (allowing women to finally vote) and the anti-discrimination movement of the 1960s, the US Supreme Court has recently declared that it is illegal to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples within the 50 United States of America. Though the USA is not the first nation-state to declare same-sex marriages legal (last month Ireland legalized marriage equality through a decision by national referendum), this development is most certainly very visible throughout the Internet-connected World and will affect cultural discussions on the matter for many people.
Internationally as well as within the US, many people still misperceive this legal development to be a move hostile to ‘traditional’ marriage as defined by (many, if not most) religions around the World, religions which define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. This is an understandable misinterpretation, and even the statement from the US Supreme Court have included clarification that the freedom of each religion to define doctrinally and theologically how they each define marriage–religious freedom on marriage–continues to be respected and continues to be off-limits from State intervention. This also concerns how in the past there is a legal practice called Civil Union, where same-sex couples in the past were allowed to form these ‘Civil Unions’ but in effect ‘Civil Unions’ have several distinct disadvantages when compared to legal Marriages. This difference between ‘Civil Unions’ and Marriages is one of the Legal facts which have lead the Supreme Court to declare it Discriminatory and Illegal to deny same-sex couples legal access to marriages.
But what do you think? Should We as trans-national and global societies have differing definitions of such a Universal institution as Marriage? Should Governments, Supreme Courts, and Nation States have any say in defining what a Marriage is? Do you think the SCOTUS decision is an intervention upon personal sovereignty? Have your say in the comments below if you will.
(We also happen to have this discussion on sovereignty over at our Your Thoughts section; if you feel like it, you can also jump right in there).