Attorney Victoria Ferrara wrote a piece that she immediately shared on her own website concerning the Supreme Court Decision regarding marriage equality. With her permission, (Attorney Ferrara is a Legal Notable Contributor for GayParentstoBe), we are sharing her blog here. The actual words of the decision that she quoted here may actually bring tears to your eyes. They certainly did for so many of us across the nation. Attorney Ferrara ties the issues together in a concise and direct way, answering many questions that are rumbling around out there about why and if it was proper that the U.S. Supreme Court took this question on at all. Attorney Ferrara puts this landmark decision into proper perspective and helps us see that yes, it’s time to celebrate.
The U. S. Supreme Court and the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision
June 26, 2015 will go down in history as an amazing day in the history of civil rights in the United States. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that marriage is a fundamental right and that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
In a riveting and impassioned decision, Justice Kennedy wrote:
"Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations."
"As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. ... Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.’
"In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Marriage Equality & Civil Rights for All
Although the dissenters see this decision as a manner of judicial activism and they argue that the majority has taken away government by the people, or by the democratic practice of legislation, this is a canned argument, a convenient argument that would only serve to cause continued oppression and discrimination. Where would we be without the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions that provided civil rights in the past to people who were oppressed. If the Loving decision did not become the law of the land, it would have taken years before interracial marriage would have been permitted. The public, the legislature bowing to public pressure, would most likely have allowed the discrimination to persist. This is true also for the Brown decision that stands for desegregation, that overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Again, at the time, it would have taken years, or the change may never have occurred, to end the persistent discrimination.
This is precisely why we have a U.S. Supreme Court. We have a system of checks and balances. If the legislatures are not acting in way that upholds the 14th amendment, the civil rights of all people, the basic equality upon which our democracy rests, then we must have action by our country’s highest court. The Obergefell decision will go down in history together with all of the other amazingly important cases that have served to uphold equal protection in the United States.
Attorney Victoria Ferrara is the founder and legal director of the surrogacy agency, Worldwide Surrogacy. Vicki leads the agency with a passion for law and the family formation process - one of her achievements is the landmark Connecticut Supreme Court case of Raftopol v. Ramey, 12 A.3d 783 299 Conn. 681 (2011), a surrogacy case. She brings over 25 years of experience practicing assisted reproductive technology law and surrogacy law to help people make their dreams of family come true—just as hers have. She and her spouse, Michelle Loris, have two sons, Sal and Nick.