Gay marriage has been a huge talking point around the world for at least the last 10 years. If you live in the UK then you will know that the coverage the debate has received in the past six months alone is incredible, and hopefully the debate will end soon and gay marriage in the UK will become an everyday occurrence. In America however the debate has caused a huge divide between political parties, individual states and the everyday American.
Indeed the issue of gay marriage in America is a vicious fight that many gay Americans and their supporters have been fighting for years, where they have been met with success and vast hostility alike. Proposition 8 has been high on the agenda for many people around the world for the last few years, and it looks as though the battle to repeal it is once again rearing its head.
This week alone we have seen several incidents across the pond highlighted in the media surrounding Proposition 8, and the hopeful removal of it, as the Supreme Court is due to consider whether to overturn it on March 26th. This comes after the controversial decision in 2008 to add a clause to the Californian constitution, which stated marriage could only be recognised by the state if it were between a man and a woman.
One incident we saw, which could have huge effects on equal marriage in the US, was 75 leading Republicans signing a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8. This figure has now swelled to over 100 and includes Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, who was previously against supporting equal marriage. The official document filed with the Supreme Court has also seen a number of former governors and members of George W Bush’s cabinet change their stance on Prop 8 and sign the document, which could also lead to significant effects on the Republican Party.
The Obama administration has also become involved in the issue this week after filing their own brief to the Supreme Court, which also urges them to strike down the ban on equal marriage in the state of California. The document has been welcomed by supporters of equal marriage in America and could in fact be applied to other states that also ban equal marriage.
The administration said of gay Americans in the document: “They establish homes and lives together, support each other financially, share the joys and burdens of raising children, and provide care through illness and comfort at the moment of death.”
President Obama himself has been quoted this week mentioning how he would remove laws banning same-sex marriage if he were a Supreme Court judge saying: “If I were on the court, that would be the view I’d put forward.”
There is hope that with the weight of the President and his administration behind the repeal of Proposition 8 that it could help with its removal.
The Republicans and the Obama Administration are not the only ones to act vocally this week on the repeal of Prop 8. Hugely popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres wrote an open letter to the Supreme Court on her website talking about her marriage to actress Portia de Rossi, saying: “Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life.”
Some of America’s largest companies such as Facebook, Apple and eBay have also urged the court to remove Proposition 8.
All this debate in the run up to the Supreme Court’s ruling has also seen the revelation of a new poll that shows 61% of Californians support same-sex marriage, which is a record percentage in the state of California and a 9% increase over five years.
It would appear that in the land of free there is still a huge reluctance to allow some people their basic human right to marry the person that they love, and in America we have all read countless articles and heard news stories about the discrimination some gay people still suffer. But with the backing of the general public, celebrities, super companies, political parties and the president of the United States himself, March 26th could see a huge step forward for equality not only in America but around the world.