Same-sex marriage debates have enthralled the nation, but a further question remains: should the decision to lift same-sex marriage bans be left for states to decide?
The constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was approved months after California’s Supreme Court had ruled that gays and lesbians had the right to marry in 2008. A stateâ€™s decision had overpowered a federal one in the state of California.
The state-by-state approach has been long, dry, and ineffective with less than one-third of states allowing same-sex marriage. The federal government, nationwide, should determine same-sex marriage rights, not the states.
A nationwide approach would allow the freedom for all members of the LGBTQ community to marry however, wherever and whenever they choose to do so. A couple from California should not have to drive to Washington to be able to get married, only to come back to a state that hasnâ€™t yet accepted their decision to do so.
This issue has been a heated debate in the courts ever since 2008. Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Washington, and the District of Columbia have allowed same sex marriages.
On Dec. 7, 2012, the U.S. Supreme court jumped into the debate of same-sex marriage by agreeing to hear two cases, Californiaâ€™s Hollingsworth vs. Perry, No. 12-144 and New Yorkâ€™s U.S. vs. Windsor, No. 12-307, that challenge state and federal laws that define marriage and its benefits to include only unions of a man and a woman, as in the Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 (DOMA).
According to gaymarriage.procon.org, â€œGay marriage is protected by the Constitution’s commitments to liberty and equality. The U.S. Supreme Court declared in 1974â€™s Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that the â€œfreedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the due process clause.â€ US District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote on Aug. 4, 2010 that Proposition 8 in California banning gay marriage was â€œunconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.â€™â€
Even President Obama seemed to push for a nationwide approach to the whole matter.
â€œOur journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,â€ Obama said in his inaugural speech. â€œFor if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.â€
The whole debate has the Supreme Court quickly and deeply involved. It should follow suit to make the decision to lift the ban off the entire country.