The Windsor ruling’s widening impact

Last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling may have had a greater impact than intended, according to the New Yorker.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling may have had a greater impact than intended, according to the New Yorker.

One of the biggest stories in gay rights last year was the landmark supreme court decision in favor of gay marriage. A recent article from the New Yorker examined the impact of the ruling, United States v. Windsor. The article observes that, while the ruling made it unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, it didn’t do much to ensure that same-sex marriage had to be viewed as constitutional. However, due to both the “powerful” language used in the ruling and a push for action by gay rights advocates, marriage equality may move forward faster than expected.

Many initially argued that the Windsor ruling merely left decisions regarding same-sex unions up to the state, but recent rulings in Oklahoma and Utah have interpreted the ruling in a more straightforward manner—basically, deciding that gay people deserve equal rights.

The article quoted an attorney who was involved in the Windsor ruling:

Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who argued the Windsor case in the Supreme Court, explained how the ruling had led to results beyond what the Court may have intended originally. “It’s not the holding in Windsor that is so controlling right now,” she said. “It’s the logic and reasoning behind the Court’s decision—namely, that gay people deserve the same legal rights and protections as everyone else.”

At this point, marriage equality seems inevitable—a pro-equality ruling in Nevada is “highly likely,” according to the article.

And it’ll likely continue from there:

Kevin Cathcart, the executive director of Lambda Legal, told me that by his estimate, there were “thirty-seven cases pending in nineteen non-marriage-equality states.” He said it would be impossible to predict which state will be the next to recognize same-sex marriage, because “there are too many cases in play.”

More and more, gay people are being seen as a class that needs to be protected. And it’s about more than marriage—a recent court case ruled that it’s unconstitutional to keep people from serving on juries due to sexual orientation. There is obviously a lot more work to be done, but these are all great signs for the movement. And it’s all due, in large part, to the Windsor ruling.

Read the full article at the New Yorker.

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