After last week “Sex and the City” looks so friggin’ dated.
But as they say about romance, the wedding at the end of the movie is really the beginning. So shall it be with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to legally recognize ALL marriages in ALL 50 United States. Same sex couples can apply and have a marriage license issued and authorized by state municipal courts. Religious institutions can choose to perform or not perform marriage ceremonies (separation of church and state). [The Episcopal Church has authorized their clergy to perform all marriages with the option to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The compromise]
Regardless, the SCOTUS decision is historic, earth shattering on both sides of the aisle. A victory for couples who have loved and devoted their lives to each other over the past 40 years in the fight to be legally and socially recognized as married.
So…what does marriage mean now? The Supreme Court decision has given everyone pause. As the court debated “traditional marriage,” I could only ask myself “Which tradition are you referencing?”
In the tradition women have been part of the marriage bargaining chip – a wife in exchange for livestock (see trailer for “I Was Sold for 50 Sheep“), cash, cars, peace between nations, or to become a new addition to the collection. Romance could entice women (mostly) to cross that threshold and into childbirth, a life-threatening endeavor. But the bargain included producing an heir preferably male. So romance can’t always sustain the checks and balances required. Religion was a way of making marriage a loftier pursuit than checks and balances. However, no one can deny that marriage, past and present, doesn’t have its bottom line.
The decision is a great opportunity to put marriage into contemporary context: “a mutually consensual contractual partnership often initiated by an emotional attachment (my definition) and recognized culturally, publicly, socially, and legally.” And a serious look at the checks and balances.
PERHAPS: For couples who co-habit but aren’t legally married, the decision shifts the status of domestic partnership benefits. Companies may require a marriage license to receive benefits like healthcare. Also remember co-habitating couples don’t have automatic visitation rights in hospitals etc., and can’t legally make decisions for their partner if they are unable to independently make life decisions for him/her self. Marriage required?
NOW: ALL married couples can file taxes jointly – state and federal. This may not be a win financially. Best check with an accountant.
More financial outcomes of the decision were included in this Washington Post article: “5 Money Questions Gay Couples Need to Ask After the Supreme Court Ruling”. And the decision has not eliminated discrimination in the workplace for LGBTQ singles and couples.
But this isn’t about bringing the party down. For the moment let’s go with what everyone says at the end of the movie – #lovewins.