For a well functioning of society, leaders should be able to make balanced and ethical decisions that ensure progress and equity. Courts are very crucial for any, and their decisions are fundamental sources of policies and laws that govern people. Most of the laws, regulations, and policies that ensure the smooth running of the society’s activities are directly or indirectly based on court decisions. Considering how these precedents are important to people’s present and future life, it’s essential to ensure such decisions have ethical backing and are valid and credible enough (Gates, & Brown, 2015). This study will evaluate and discuss the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell V. Hodges, which was about same-sex marriage and the court held that based on the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, states could not prohibit same-sex couples from getting married. This case was historical and had the significant impact that carried ethical, and political implications
Evaluation of the situation.
Obergefell V. Hodges is a legal case in which was ruled by the US Supreme court in, 5-4 on June 26, 2015 (Isaacson, 2015). This case was a landmark to the civil rights as the court guaranteed fundamental rights for same-sex couples to marry and upheld the previous ban which prohibited marriage between same-sex partners. This required that all the states of United States including the District of Colombia to recognize same-sex marriage and accord the couples the same terms and conditions granted to the opposite sex couples as well as the accompanying rights and responsibilities.
This was the right decision and had ethical backing. First, before the decision, was eminent discrimination because the constitution and laws of the United States did not recognize the legality of same-sex marriage. Therefore the LGBT families could not access some of the privileges that were enjoyed by the opposite sex couple such as adoption. These meant that the same-sex couples lived without kids and after death, their property could be inherited by their relatives. Their inability to adapt and have kids, which is the primary reason or marriage as the constitution grants right for procreation made them live a miserable life. Any law that makes members of the society unhappy or leads to discrimination is unethical. The decision was therefore ethical and promoted equality as after the ruling; the same-sex couple could comfortably adopt and bring up kids just like same-sex couples.
Besides, the case decision made it possible for same-sex couples to jointly own property (Gates, & Brown, 2015). Under the decision, property laws convey certain rights to the same-sex couples and grant them the right to choose various types o real estate under in which each owns 100% interest under Tenancy by Entireness. This means that upon death one of the partners can be able to own 100% of the property. Before this decision, relatives of the deceased partner inherited all his/her property without consideration of his rights of the other partner. The case is therefore advantageous as it promoted equality and advocated for the rights of the partners. This is the rights that are granted by The four Principles and Traditions as well as the Protection and Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Other than affirming the LGBT families right to property, the case also preserved their dignity. It’s unethical for any society to diminish the dignity of any group and preserve the dignity of the other. Same-Sex couples were not recognized and lived like outsiders. It was even difficult for them to express themselves in public due to social alienation. The ban on same-sex also led to stress and other adverse health impacts (Murray, 2016). This case gave their identity dignity, and they could express and interact with other members of society freely.
However, the decision was had some negative implications. First, the decision was against the morality on which society is based. This is because society defines marriage as a union between man and woman and regards same-sex marriage as an abomination. This made the decision to receive a lot of resistance, especially from the religious organization as it diminished society’s moral values. In most of the states even months after the court had made the decision, they refused to issue licenses to couples of same-sex regarding it as a disgrace to the society (Murray, 2016).
Impacts of the same sex couples
This case had various implications for same-sex couples. One of the impacts is that the pair could receive better healthcare just like the opposite sex couples.this is because the hospitals could now recognize the two as couples to make health care decisions. Also, the couples can enjoy tax benefits that are entitled to married couples as they have legal recognition, by filing joint state and federal taxes, or even a partner can continue to receive spouse social security payments under Survivor benefits. The decision also gave the couple a legal right to adopt children like their counterparts; the opposite sex couples (Perone, 2015).
The supreme court was appropriate ruling the same-sex case, and it did not circumvent the democratic process. This is because there was a need to solve the issue and provide a lasting solution nationwide which promote uniformity and equality in law, rather than having each state make its own decisions. Although the decision has been questioned by various countries even up to date, having each state makes its decision on marriage would have resulted in a crisis. The majority were correct that the equal protection clause of the 14 amendments protected all the area of the marriage. This is because the Due process clause extended personal choices that are central to individual autonomy and dignity to all, including intimate choices and did not specify that this choice only applied to the opposite sex marriage (Barlow, 2015). For this reason, the fundamental liberties also applied to same-sex marriage.
For a well functioning of society, leaders should be able to make balanced and ethical decisions that ensure progress and equity. Although the Supreme court decision can be argued to be against society’s morality and be objected on religious grounds, the decision was paramount to ensuring equality in marriages by giving the same-sex couples legal identity and ability to enjoy similar rights to the ones enjoyed by the opposite sex couples.
Boston University. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/supreme-court-gay-marriage-decision-2015/
Gates, G., & Brown, T. N. (2015). Marriage and same-sex couples after Obergefell.
Isaacson, S. E. (2015). Obergefell v Hodges: The US Supreme Court Decides the Marriage Question. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 4(3), 530-535.
Murray, M. (2016). Obergefell v. Hodges and Nonmarriage Inequality. Calif. L. Rev., 104, 1207.
Perone, A. K. (2015). Health implications of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell vs. Hodges marriage equality decision. LGBT health, 2(3), 196-199.
Rich Barlow. (2015, June 15). The Impact of the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision |
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES; CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf