Many supporters of gay marriage can let out a sigh of relief thanks to a Supreme Court ruling that says the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The Act says that same-sex couples who are legally married in the states are denied federal benefits. The decision to make the Act unconstitutional was 5 to 4, but it didn’t address the issue of whether or not same-sex marriage is considered constitutional (hopefully they’ll address that issue in the next few years). It did say, however, that the Act violated equal protection rights, which gives federal benefits to heterosexual couples but denies those same benefits to gay couples in the states where gay marriage is allowed.
When the law passed in 1996, there was no place in the world that same-sex marriage was allowed. It was rare that you could even see gay characters on TV or in movies, but now that has completely changed. These days there are many shows and movies that have gay characters as an integral part of the storyline. We saw it first with shows like Will and Grace (cast pictured below). At the time, it was a huge deal, but now it’s just a normal part of society.
You can see gay characters in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Fosters, and even The CW’s own The Carrie Diaries. Pop culture shows support of the gay community with people like Ellen Degeneres and Neil Patrick Harris.
It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court made a ruling like the one that they did, especially since there is such a huge outcry from many supporters of gay marriage, whether they are gay or straight. This is only one step in the fight for marriage equality so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.
Ariel Schiller/ CW 44 Tampa Bay