The United States is approaching a definitive answer to what the New York Times calls “one of the great civil rights questions in a generation.” Our Supreme Court agreed to decide if gay marriage must be allowed in all 50 United States. More than 70 percent of Americans already live in places where gay couples can marry. Same-sex marriage is already legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Now is the time for positive Supreme Court action.The high court will hear arguments, probably in late April of this year.
This news is a relevant topic for Straight Spouse Connection. Many readers of this blog are middle-aged or older and have already been victimized by societal pressures requiring traditional marriage. Their gay spouses felt compelled to marry to hide their sexual orientation. Many languished in mixed-orientation relationships for decades before one spouse came out. They are already casualties, their damage done. Other younger gay people continue to marry straight partners because of religious beliefs, family, social or career pressures. This news about a Supreme Court decision is germane in all these scenarios.
Though they can’t change their past, many older straight spouses are “paying it forward.” Perhaps their closeted anguish helped build the current momentum toward a definitive decision to honor the dignity of same-sex relationships—to prevent future grief of straight men and women unknowingly entering disastrous mixed marriages.
The future looks brighter for those just entering marriage, gay or straight. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage nation-wide would measurably alleviate gay people’s need to hide their sexual orientation through secrecy, deception, and double lives. It would diminish the significant legal and emotional burdens caused by local discriminatory laws, freeing people to marry as they choose and enjoy legal protections they previously were denied. Thus, legalizing same-sex marriage would mean fewer mismatched couples entering ill-fated gay-straight bonds, with the inevitable pain of discovery.
Legalization of gay marriage in the United States would not be binding anywhere else in the world, but many other countries have preceded us in this decision. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 18 countries, the earliest acceptance by The Netherlands in 2000. The most recent countries following suit are England, Wales, Brazil, France, New Zealand, and Uruguay in 2013, and Scotland and Luxembourg last year. After years of political posturing and religious protestations, world opinion is leaning toward broader acceptance.
Surely our Supreme Court will see the need, heed the trend, and make a positive decision to sanction gay marriage. If even one mixed-orientation couple can be saved from a doomed marriage, coerced by family, religious, social, or professional pressure, efforts to legalize same-sex marriage have not been wasted.