By Emmi Rivkin
Cases Having to do with the 14th Amendment
Loving v. Virginia 1967
Facts of the Case
The Question and Amendment Involved
This case has to do with the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The Ruling and Impact
The court ruled nine to zero in favor of the Lovings. According to blackpast.org, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that bans on inter-racial marriage violated both the Equal Protection Clause in the 14 Amendment and the constitutional right to due process. Chief Justice Warren said that marriage was one of "the basic civil rights." This shows that the justices in the US Supreme Court in 1967 were conscious of the repercussions of deciding in favor of Virginia, which could include rioting and protest, and knew that times would change in America. Skin color might not be a major factor in dictating one's marriage opportunities in the future, and the justices knew this. They also knew that citizens might lose faith in the government if it made another decision similar to the one in the Dred Scott case.
The impact was huge on the citizens. As whites and non-whites now had the ability to freely marry, neighbors were forced to accept that this was the way life was going to be from that point on. This recognition of the consequences was one of the biggest impacts, as it shows the nation becoming more accepting. Since the time of the case, the percentage of people that approve of inter-racial marriage has increased drastically. Between 1968 and 2007, 57% more of the population has grown to recognize inter-racial marriage and even agree with it. However, the older generations have been shown to have a tendency to stick with the old ways, and adults olde than fifty have an extra 18% of their population that disapproves of inter-racial marriage in comparison to adults ages 18-49. This also shows impact, because 67% of adults over 50 agree with inter-racial marriage, proving that an old dog can be taught new tricks. Overall, the impact on the opinions of citizens has been huge since Loving v. Virginia. Another impact was on the rights of citizens. Now, a white has the ability to freely marry a non-white. According to historynewsnetwork.org, one in fifteen marriages is inter-racial, something unheard of before Loving v. Virginia. This shows that citizens gained more rights and freedoms after the case. Loving v. Virginia also caused the government to change. Now, it could no longer punish couples for making a choice about who they married. Judges couldn't punish inter-racial couples, even if doing so would obey their ideals. The government was unable to do the same, but, as can be seen today, the government doesn't have too much of a problem with inter-racial couples. To summarize, Loving v. Virginia has had enormous impact on the way the nation looks at rights and marriage.
Approval of Black-White Marriages Among Whites
Green is approve; cream is disapprove
Approval of Black-White Marriages Among Blacks
Green is approve; cream is disapprove
Approval of Whites Marrying Non-Whites by Age and Ethnicity
Green is 18- to 49-year-olds; cream is 50 years old and above. Bars show all adults, whites, blacks and hispanics.
Obergefell v. Hodges 2015
The most recent legalization of same-sex marriage for a country was Ireland. In May 2015, Ireland legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote. Even though it is a Catholic nation that still tends to not allow abortion, it made homosexuality no longer criminal in 1993. This movement started with the people, as the population was the body that had the power to change the laws. After a large vote, with more than sixty percent of the population voting in the election, according to nytimes.com, the Yes campaign won. Twice as many people voted for the Yes side than the No side, so Ireland will join the list of nineteen countries that have legalized same-sex marriage as soon as the referendum is approved. Unfortunately, this list does not include the United States, but it soon could. The world may not legalize homosexual marriage as a whole yet, as the majority of the opposition is made up of religious leaders. Religion will have to accept homosexuality for the world to. Religions than disapprove of same-sex marriage include Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism and the National Association of Evangelicals, according to pewforum.org. Religions such as the Islamic religion condemn homosexuality and even punish same-sex couples. Other religions or branches of religions have created ceremonies similar to traditional marriage, which is a step in the right direction. In America, same-sex marriage has been a debated topic for decades. In 1970, Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license, but they were denied on the grounds that they were both men. When the couple went to court for their marriage license, they lost, with the court agreeing with the Hennepin County District Court clerk, Gerald Nelson, according to gaymarriage.procon.org. When the couple appealed to the US Supreme Court, they still lost. This case created a precedent for others cases, which had the ability to decrease the amount of success any other cases for same-sex marriage. Three years later, Maryland became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. The government did this by including in its Family Law Code a line stating, "Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State." By doing this, Maryland created an unfortunate amount of prejudice against same-sex couples. Even though between 1970 and 1993 there was a huge increase in recognition for same-sex marriage, in 1995, Mike Leavitt signed a bill that denied couples that had gotten married in another state the ability to have their marriage recognized by the state government. This bill was the first state Defense of Marriage statute. Also, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into a law. This bill act outlined marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." It also says that a spouse has to be of the opposite sex.
Facts of the Case
The Questions and Amendment Involved
According to oyez.com, the questions in front of the court are, "(1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? (2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state?"
This case has to do with the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
I believe that the Supreme Court should decide in favor of Obergefell. Marriage is marriage, no matter what sex the people involved are. The 14th Amendment includes an Equal Protection Clause, and that means equal protection for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. To quote the Constitution, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This means that none of the states are able to infringe upon the rights of homosexual citizens in America. The states are also unable to deny citizens liberty. This applies to same-sex marriage, because couples are being denied the liberty to marry who they want to. As we are now living in the 21st century, differences should be embraced, not taunted. We should all be treated equally by others around us and by the government, just like the 14th Amendment says.
Unfortunately, I am not too certain about whether or not the Supreme Court will decide in favor of same-sex marriage. According to a survey done by Quinnipiac University, 43% of people over fifty five oppose same-sex marriage. Also, according to a poll done by the New York Times and CBS News, 61% of Republicans think that same-sex marriage should not be legal. The justices in the US Supreme Court are older, and five out of the nine are Republican. This might cause the vote to swing in the favor of those against same-sex marriage and homosexuality. On the flip side, the justices do have to think about what is best for the nation and what is constitutional. These factors might influence the justices to vote in favor of supporting same-sex marriage. Overall, the justices will decide on whatever they think is best for the nation.
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