Is the US ready for equal marriage for LGBTQ people?

As I learned in school from a young age, the United States constitution grants equal protection to all citizens. This I have taken for granted as a fundamental right as a US citizen. Currently there are 19 states with legalized equal marriage, which means there are 31 without – but as always the solution isn’t simple. Unlike most countries with equal marriage, the United States government has left legalization to individual states, which means that change comes slowly and unevenly.

The question that many supporters of marriage equality are asking is: why this disparity from one state to the next?

The answer is simple yet frustrating: politics.

Many politicians are worried if they support gay marriage they may lose their position in Congress to be replaced with a member of the opposite political party. Therefore each state must decide on the matter when it is ready – and when the political time is right.

I was able to visit a United States District Court judge (the lowest court for the Federal Government), where many gay marriage cases are first heard.

Speaking exclusively to me, Judge David Hittner said, ‘I believe Texas is not ready for gay marriage, due to the amount of ridicule that is seen through society, but the United States as a whole is. I don’t work for Texas, I work for the United States, so of course my fellow justices that have ruled in favor of gay marriage have my support.’

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David Hittner is a Conservative Republican Justice, and has seen many hate crimes in his courts – a great majority have to do with LGBTQ people. Inequality in the eyes of the law leads to inequality in the eyes of society. While inequality remains, hate crime will also continue to be a major problem for minority groups.

I believe the first step towards acceptance is tolerance, and equal marriage for LGBT people is a sign of tolerance. 44% of the American population lives in states with equal marriage. That’s almost half of all people in my country – despite the fact only 19 states have equal marriage laws. The dream for many LGBTQ people in America, like me, is that one day we’ll be equal in every way – just normal people who happen to be gay.

Image: ‘Anna Phylactic and Cheddar Gawjus marry at Young Enigma‘s A Royal Wedding’ by Drew Wilby Photographics

About James Chatt

Avid runner. Coffee lover. World traveller.