Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, has joined the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont in permitting same-sex marriages.
Washington’s city council adopts the laws governing the capital, but Congress can overrule and reject the city council’s actions. In this case, it did not.
Interestingly, as The New York Times reported on March 4, “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday rejected a request from opponents of same-sex marriage to have the United States Supreme Court delay it.”
In California, two outstanding attorneys, Ted Olsen, who is generally identified with the Republican Party, and David Boies, who is generally identified with the Democratic Party, have joined forces to argue an appeal in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, seeking to set aside the vote in California in 2008 on Proposition 8 that revoked the right of same-sex marriage which had been established by the California State Supreme Court in May, 2008.
Most people would agree that the issue of same-sex marriage has come a very long way in a very short time. Gay marriage has become the most important issue on the gay rights agenda.
Gay marriage has enormous symbolic meaning: full equality in marriage for all, irrespective of sexual orientation, with all of the prerogatives and obligations that come with that status.
Troubling, however, is the apparent lack of progress in striking down the more immediate discrimination in everyday life affecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered.
We see no accounts in the media of successes in adding to the list of states and cities that bar discrimination against gays, lesbians, et al., in employment, housing, and education. Currently, only 20 states, including New York, have some form of protection for gays.
Hopefully, advocates of same-sex marriage who have been really extraordinary in their efforts and accomplishments will give greater attention to striking down discrimination in employment, housing, and education which will affect millions more lives.
The symbolic and substantive importance of same-sex marriage cannot be denied. Employment, housing and education are “meat and potatoes” issues affecting the daily lives of millions and must also be addressed now and with equal intensity.
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