In a move that may signal the end of marriage exclusion as only allowable between a man and a woman, the Supreme Court on Monday let stand appeals court rulings allowing same sex unions in five states.
The development clears the way for same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Officials in Virginia announced that marriages would start that afternoon.
The ruling’s impact is noted by Southern Oregon University students at the on campus Queer Resource Center.
“It’s fantastic that they’re taking that step,” says third-year student, Melanie Rankin. Rankin says she was surprised by the court’s ruling since she believes many of their recent decisions have been anti-individual rights such as the ruling which allowed Hobby Lobby to deny birth control for women in their medical insurance coverage. Rankin, an English major lounging in the QRC in a hoodie and sneakers preparing to post fliers for Pride Scholarships admits she is slightly more hopeful as a result of Monday’s ruling, “Especially with the recent Hobby Lobby decision, it’s good to hear they are making some decisions in favor of oppressed individuals.”
Adam Railsback, a senior majoring in Psychology agrees.
“It sets the stage for potentially changing and addressing bigger issues,” said Railsback. He is talking about what he believes is still a stacked deck against the queer community in terms of health care and employment discrimination.
“Everyone can get married. Everyone can have the same protections under the law,” said junior Jordan Land, who affirms the long fight for the right to marry even for those young people personally disinterested. He says, “Still we should fight for the rights of people to enter into marriage if they want to.”
The decision to let the appeals court rulings stand will almost immediately increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24, along with the District of Columbia. In addition, Monday’s orders let stand decisions from three federal appeals courts with jurisdiction over six other states that ban same-sex marriage: Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those appeals courts will almost certainly follow their own precedents meaning the number of states with same-sex marriage is likely to be 30.
Oregon made the decision to allow same sex marriage in May of 2014.
Railsback sums it up this way: “I think it’s definitely a milestone and very important our courts have recognized arguments against same sex marriage are religiously based and have no legal standing or precedent.”