The U.S. Supreme Court's accepted appeals of four lawsuits
same-sex marriage (SSM) (a.k.a.
marriage), and issued a ruling
legalizing SSM across the U.S.
The U.S. Supreme
Court accepted the case Obergefell
v. Hodges and issued its ruling,
legalizing gay marriage throughout
2015-JAN to JUN:
We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
"Marriage equality" means that laws permit both opposite-sex
and same-sex couples to marry.
1 2015-JAN to JUN: The struggle for the legalization of gay marriages throughout the entire United States accelerated:
The movement to bring marriage equality to the District of Columbia, to all 50 states, and to the five U.S. territories has been a long grind, extending over two and a half decades.
It is a matter of high importance to many Americans, most of whom who fall into one or more of the following five groups:
- the approximately 5% of Americans who are -- or will realize later in life that they are -- gay or lesbian. Many will want to marry a person of the same sex that they love and to whom they are ready to make a lifetime commitment of marriage.
- the approximately 5% who are -- or will realize later in life that they are -- bisexual. Many of this group will also want to marry a person of the same sex.
- the small percentage of individuals who are asexual, demisexual, or pansexual. 3
- many people who have a keen interest in individual freedom and who believe that all Americans should enjoy equal rights, including the right to marry the person that they love and two whom they are prepared to give a lifetime commitment.
- many conservative Christians who interpret the six "clobber passages" in the Bible as condemning all same-gender sexual behavior and who are committed to restricting marriages to the voluntary union of one woman and one man. Many of them have a sincere fear that God will retaliate against the people of the United States -- probably with natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, drought, fire, etc. -- if marriage equality becomes the law of the land.
In the early years of this struggle, marriage equality had generally been attained one state at a time through a vote of their Legislature. In a few cases, it happened by a public vote in a plebiscite. However, particularly since mid-2013, it has been mainly resulted from lawsuits filed in the federal or state courts. This third path reached the U.S. Supreme Court which has the power to order one of many alternatives, ranging from bringing marriage equality to the entire country, to banning marriage equality completely.
2015-JUN-26: The Supreme Court marriage decision was issued:
On 2015-JUN-26, a narrow majority of Justices on the High Court agreed that the Due Process Clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that all citizens be given equal access to marriage. Since all states, all territories, and the District of Columbia allow qualified opposite-sex couples to marry, then they must also allow same-sex couples to marry. This is a simple concept that over 60% of American adults currently support and that 72% of adults expected the High Court to implement.
However, millions of social, religious, and political conservatives will find his decision by the High Court to be shocking, distressing and inappropriate. Many probably felt the same emotions back in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court last changed the definition of marriage. That was in the case Loving v. Virginia when the Court legalized interracial marriage across the country. At that time, the vast majority (72%) of American adults were still opposed to legalizing interracial marriage. Also a near majority (48%) favored criminal punishments for interracial couples who did marry.
In our future, support for gay marriage will probably increase rapidly. The terms "Gay marriage" and "same-sex marriage" will become obsolete and replaced by "marriage." By the 2030's, many people will probably wonder what the fuss was all about.
What does the future hold?
Some of the Justices on the Supreme Court are of an advanced age. Three are over 77 years of age and likely to retire soon. Antinonin Scalia died during 2016-FEB. President Obama nominated a replacement Justice, but the Republican-dominated Senate violated the U.S. Constituting by refusing to vote on his replacement. At least one more Justice may leave the court either voluntarily or through death during the next few years.
Supreme Court observers have noted that for the past three decades, every time a Justice has left the Supreme Court, she or he has been replaced by a new Justice who was more conservative. This trend will probably continue in the future since Donald Trump (R) was elected President and sworn into office during 2017-JAN. The balance in the high court will swing even further to the right. A future, more conservative, Supreme Court could conceivably reverse the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and perhaps even ban same-sex marriage everywhere in the U.S. once more.
Laws are fluid and are not necessarily fixed for all time.
2017-MAR: Status of gay marriage in the U.S.:
Almost all same-sex couples who meet the minimum age requirement for marriage in their state or territory, who are not currently married, and are not too closely related genetically should be able to obtain a marriage license in their county and later have their marriage solemnized. A handful of counties in Alabama are refusing to issue licenses. Couples in those counties are simply going to an adjacent country and obtaining their license there.
The only exception is American Samoa where the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is not recognized by the territorial government. Most people living in that territory are considered U.S. residents, not U.S. citizens. Thus the High Court's rulings do not necessarily apply there.
MarriageEquality.org placed the following notice on their web site:
If a marriage license is refused to you, please contact one of the following legal organizations immediately!
Topics covered in this section:
1991 to 2015:
Milestones in the path towards same-sex marriage
2015-JAN to APR: The U.S. Supreme Court accepts appeals of four SSM cases. Briefs filed by concerned groups. Hearing is held:
Part 1: 2015-JAN-16: U.S. Supreme Court accepts appeals from four SSM cases: one each from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee
Part 2: Points of agreement & disagreement about same-sex marriage (SSM). Reactions to the Supreme Court's decision to accept the appeals.
Part 3: More reactions.
Part 4: Still more reactions.
Part 5: Even more reactions.
Part 6: Some final reactions, including the impact of the Supreme Court on the
conflict over SSM in Alabama during 2015-FEB.
Part 7: 2015-FEB: Impact of the Supreme Court (Cont'd).
Part 8: 2015-MAR: Briefs sent to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Obama Administrations, various groups & individuals concerning SSM in the
case Obergefell v. Hodges.
Part 9: Some of the points raised in briefs submitted
to the U.S. Supreme Court
that advocate marriage equality.
Part 10: Some briefs
supporting or opposing marriage equality
Part 11: The Family Research Council's brief
opposing marriage equality
Part 12: More about the Family Research Council's brief
Part 13: A brief by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church
opposing marriage equality
Part 14: The Roman Catholic Church brief (Cont'd). Personal brief by Ryan Anderson & Gene Schaerr against marriage equality
Part 15: Briefs opposing marriage equality raise fears
of massive increase in U.S. abortion rates, & precipitous drops in marriage and birth rates,
same-sex couples are allowed to marry.
Part 16: Three more briefs opposing marriage equality by
PFOX, "Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives," and six persons who were raised by same-sex parents.
Part 17: Three more briefs opposing marriage equality by Concerned Women for America, the
for Moral Law, and the International
Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers:
Part 18: Two more briefs opposing marriage equality: One by
the 2012 Republican National Convention
on the Platform, and a joint
brief by two California groups.
Part 19: 2015-APR-25: The March for Marriage sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage held in Washington DC
Part 20: 2015-APR-28: The U.S. Supreme
Court held a hearing in the consolidated case "Obergefell
2015-APR & MAY: Predictions of how the High Court might decide. Predictions of how the public will react:
Part 21: What are the Supreme Court's options on SSM? Webmaster's prediction on the ruling. If SSM is legalized across the U.S., why would
God not have prevented it from happening?
Part 22: 2015-APR: Predictions of whether the U.S.
Supreme Court will legalize
throughout the entire country. Predictions of the repercussions that might then be experienced.
Part 23: 2015-APR: An evangelical Christian group pledges civil disobedience if SSM is legalized across the United States
by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Part 24: 2015-APR: More about the Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage, including this web master's comments. [bias alert]
Part 25: 2015-APR: More predictions of the backlash that may be come if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes SSM
Part 26: 2013 to 2015: More predictions of the impacts on the nation if the U.S. Supreme Court
Part 27: 2013 to 2015: Two more predictions of a backlash.
Past changes that could have caused backlashes.
Part 28: 2013 to 2015: A public opinion research study that shows little chance of a major backlash. This webmaster's opinion.
Part 29: 2015-MAY: Predictions of how the public may react to
the upcoming Obergefell decision (Cont'd): Webmaster expects public will accept change;
Franklin Graham expects persecution of Christians.
- 2015-MAY/JUN: Franklin Graham's fund to promote discrimination. Alternate, peaceful responses to marriage equality. Huckabee's odd concept of the U.S. government.
- 2015-JUN-26 to JUL-31: The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling that expands marriage equality from 37 states and the District of Columbia to all 50 states, DC, and four out of five territories. A boycott and a law to promote discrimination is proposed:
Part 31: Franklin Graham advocates boycott. A First Amendment Defense Act which doesn't
defend the First Amendment is proposed.
Part 32: The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage (a.k.a. gay marriage) is to be available across the entire United States, almost.
Part 33: How and why the Justices voted as they did. Some initial reactions to the High Court ruling.
Part 34: More reactions.
Part 35: Still more reactions. A historical note from the Vatican. Video of an anti-SSM protestor
Part 36: The White House and other landmarks were illuminated in rainbow colors.
Part 37: 3 key questions:
- 1. When can same-sex couples marry?
- 2. When will churches be forced to marry them? (A trick question)
- 3. How and why the High Court Justices disagreed.
Part 38: Disagreements among the High Court Justices: Conflicts between Justice Kennedy's majority opinion, & Chief Justice Roberts' minority opinion.
Part 39: Excerpts from Chief Justice Roberts' minority opinion (Cont'd). Actor George Takei's take on marriage equality:
Part 40: Excerpts from Justice Scalia's minority opinion. Looking back at historical redefinitions of marriage.
Part 41: A note to same-sex couples planning to marry. Status of gay marriage. New York Times article
on evangelical Christians' response to same-sex marriage.
Part 42: Response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. From the Deep South, examples of opposition to the
ruling in Louisiana and Texas. Personal conflicts faced by courthouse clerks.
Part 43: Late 2015-JUN:
Confusion about -- & opposition to --
the High Court's
ruling in the Deep South:
in Mississippi, & Texas.
Part 44: More confusion & opposition:
in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, & Texas. Conflict resolved in
LA, MS, & TX.
Part 45: A bit of humor.
Will God destroy the U.S.?
Same-sex couples' problems in Louisiana, & Ohio.
Part 46: 2015-JULY:
Same-sex couples' marriage license problems in Kentucky.
Part 47: Same-sex couples' marriage license problems in
North Dakota & Texas. Gender-neutral terms in marriage laws.
Part 48: Louisiana capitulates to reality. Gay marriages are now routine throughout the U.S.
mainland, Alaska, Hawaii and most
Territories, except for a few scattered counties.
Reactions of the Louisiana Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling. American Samoa resists marriage equality.
All same-sex married couples are now eligible for federal spousal benefits. Webmaster's note about gay marriage. Alabama Supreme Court asks for advice. The path forward for marriage equality.
Part 51: Alabama Supreme Court asks for advice.
The "path forward" for gay marriage. Another webmaster's note.
2015-AUG: Occasional events in which a very few officials violate their oath of office and the Golden Rule by rejecting same-sex couples:
Part 52: The "path forward" for gay marriage (Cont'd). Judge in Ohio refuses to marry same-sex couple. Clerk in Kentucky won't issue marriage licenses.
Part 53: Clerk in Kentucky won't issue marriage licenses (Cont'd). Lawsuit in federal District Court. Webmaster's comments.
Part 54: Are there limits to the
allowable actions a county clerk can take? Clerk Kim Davis in Rowan County,
Kentucky continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses, claiming her religious freedom to
discriminate against the LGBT community.
Part 55: Various comments about Clerk Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses in Rowan County, KY. Reactions to gay marriage by Ms. Davis and by other clerks throughout the U.S. states.
2015-SEP to OCT: Attention concentrated on Rowan County, Kentucky:
Part 56: Rowan County, KY: Clerk Davis returns to District Court. She is jailed for contempt of court. Reactions.
Part 57: More reactions to Rowan County Clerk Kim
Davis' arrest in Kentucky for contempt of court.
Part 58: More reactions to her imprisonment. What the webmaster would do if he were in Kim Davis' position.
Part 59: Deputy clerks in Rowan County KY start to issue marriage licenses. Clerk Kim Davis is conditionally released from jail. Email received about"one nation under God," & marriage equality.
Part 60: A few problems with an email from Father Anthony Mellace about "One nation under God." Current status of marriage equality in the U.S.
Part 61: Current status of marriage equality in the U.S. (Cont'd). Further developments in Rowan County, KY.
Part 62: Results of national poll on religious freedom to discriminate vs. marriage equality.
U.S. couples with licenses trying to be married.
Still more developments in Rowan County, KY.
Part 63: Ominous development in Rowan County. (Cont'd). Clerk Davis returns to work. Review of the root cause of the conflict.
Part 64: Group erects billboard critical of Clerk Davis. Kim Davis is to receive prestigious award.
Part 65: Kim Davis' award.
U.S. 6th Court of Appeals rejects another appeal from Davis.
Only one marriage license application refused over two weeks.
Part 66: Ted Cruze sounds of on marriage equality. Conservative/liberal views of human rights. Kim Davis has private meeting with Pope Francis.
Part 67: Kim Davis' meeting. (Cont'd).
What types of discrimination by county clerks
would be justified by
Pope Francis' criteria?
Part 68: Types of discrimination (Cont'd).
Two polls compare couples' civil rights
county clerks' religious freedom to discriminate.
Current status of gay marriage in the U.S.
Part 69: This webmaster's thoughts on how to try to resolve
the conflict over issuing gay marriage certificates
in Rowan County, KY and elsewhere.
Part 70: Important polling data from the Public Policy Research Institute.
Part 71: Support for gay marriage in the U.S. Speculation about the future of marriage equality in the U.S.
Part 72: 2016: Gay marriage comes to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Part 73: 2016: A video interview on gay marriage with President-elect Donald Trump.
Subsequent developments in gay marriage:
By early 2016, access to marriage licenses by same-sex couples had become routine in all states, District of Columbia, and five out of six territories. However, there were still a few isolated conflicts related to gay marriages:
2016-APR: Kentucky: New marriage form approved: Kim Davis and marriage equality both win: a new marriage application form is approved in that state.
2017-MAR: Texas: Conservative coalition attempts to overturn complete marriage equality via Texas Supreme Court.
2017-OCT: District of Columbia: Georgetown University student group targeted as a hate group.
Support for gay marriage increases after the High Court ruling and reaches a new high:
The Gallup organization has been monitoring support and opposition to same-sex marriage since 1997, when support was only 27% and opposition was 68%. Since then, support has increased while opposition has decreased with time. This is very similar to trends in other human rights/civil liberties battles in the past, like interracial marriage.
- During 2011, support and opposition for gay marriages were approximately equal at just under 50%.
- During mid-2015, before the High Court ruling, 60% of U.S. adults supported such marriages, and 37% were opposed.
- By mid-2017, support continued to increased and reached an all-time high of 64%. Opposition continued to decrease and reached 34%. Only 2% of those polled had no opinion.
Number of marriages by same-sex couples accelerate since the High Court ruling:
In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriages. More states followed. At the time of the High Court's ruling, 11 years later, many more states had attained marriage equality, and the number of married same-sex couples had risen to about 390,000. The Court ruling on 2015-JUN-26 legalized same-sex marriage throughout the U.S., including 5 of its 6 territories. (American Samoa is the exception. Most of its population are considered American residents, not American citizens. Thus, decision of the U.S. Supreme Court do not necessarily have effect there.) In the two years following that ruling, the number of same-sex married cuples had increased by 40% to about 547,000. 2
The Gallup Daily Tracking Survey estimates that 4.3% of adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT and thus that 10.2% of LGBT adults are married to someone of the same sex.
That Survey notes that:
"Overall, 4.3% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Gallup's latest estimate from its June 2016-June 2017 tracking data. That is up from 3.9% a year ago and 3.4% in Gallup's initial estimate in 2012."
We suspect that the reported increase in the LGBT community from 3.4 to 4.3% between 2012 and 2017, as estimated by Gallup, is not accurate. The apparent increase is probably due to the increasing willingness that members of the LGBT community have in revealing their minority sexual orientation to a stranger over the telephone who claims that they are doing an anonymous, confidential phone-based survey.
Will M. Gervais and Maxine B. Najle of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky developed an interesting technique for estimating the actual percentage of Atheists in the U.S. Atheists, like the LGBT community tend to be reluctant to give accurate information about themselves to strangers. They report that:
"Widely cited telephone polls (e.g., Gallup, Pew) suggest U.S. atheist prevalence of only 3–11%. In contrast, our most credible indirect estimate is 26% (albeit with considerable estimate and method uncertainty)." 2
This web site, www.religioustolerance.org, has estimated that the adult LGBT community in the U.S. is made up of:
Also, the 10.2% value is probably a significant overestimate.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- The seal is in the public domain. This image was downloaded from Wikipedia at: http://upload.wikimedia.org/
- Will M. Gervais and Maxine B. Najle, "How Many Atheists Are There?," Sage Journals, 2017-MAY-16, at: http://journals.sagepub.com/
- Although the terms heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual cover the vast majority of adults, there are small minorities of individuals who are not included within any of these three groups. These include individuals who are:
- Asexual -- having no sexual attraction at all -- but who may develop a romantic interest in another person; or
- Demisexual -- having no initial sexual attraction to anyone, but who can develop attraction if they first develop a deep emotional/romantic connection with another person; or
- Pansexual -- attracted to other persons of any gender identification, including no gender identification, and any biological sex.
How you may have arrived here:
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
- Justin McCarthy, "US Support for Gay Marriage Edges to New High," Gallup, 2017-JUN-15, at: http://www.gallup.com/
- Adam P. Romero, "Estimates of Marriages of Same-Sex Couples at the Two-Year Anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges," The Williams Institute, 2017-JUN, at: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/
- "1.1 Million LGBT Adults Are Married to Someone of the Same Sex at the Two-Year Anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges," The Williams Institute, 2017-JUN-23, at: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/
Copyright © 2015 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-FEB-17
Latest update: 2017-NOV-24
Author: B.A. Robinson