ICYMI: Next step towards marriage equality

Wedding-RingsMy latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. In it, I discuss the correct decision by those involved in Virginia’s marriage equality case to appeal the 4th Circuit decision in Bostic v. Schaefer to the U. S. Supreme Court.

I have been hearing rumblings that some supporters of marriage equality didn’t want the decision appealed. I think that is a selfish approach.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia recognize marriage equality. Allowing the 4th Circuit ruling to go unchallenged would increase that number by four. No doubt the inclusion of those states would push the percentage of the U.S. population living in states permitting marriage equality over 50 percent; it currently stands at around 44 percent.

I would be thrilled to have my marriage recognized in Virginia. But that’s selfish; I want everyone to have their marriages recognized everywhere. The only way to make that happen is for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the question.

Interestingly enough, the couples in the Utah case have come to a similar conclusion:

“Now is the time for the Supreme Court to bring certainty to this fundamental civil rights issue of our time,” said Peggy A. Tomsic, a lawyer for the couples.


“We are one country,” she said. “Even if you are in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, you are at risk if you travel or move.”

Exactly. And given the speed at which things have moved, SCOTUS could hear these cases in the next term. We could have an answer in June 2015, less than a year from now.

The danger here is that the court will rule against marriage equality. Given the unbroken string of victories in favor of marriage equality since the Windsor ruling in June 2013, I think that unlikely. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

It is a risk worth taking. And one worth waiting for.

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.