Goin’ to the Chapel | OZY

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because love is love.

On Friday they celebrated, waving rainbow-colored flags and singing — “Hallelujah,” “We Shall Overcome,” a version of “Goin’ to the Chapel of Love” that came out like a hymn: Today’s the day we’ll say ‘I do.’ All over the country, gay couples were getting hitched. Up in San Francisco, the atmosphere was especially jubilant, as captured in these Instagram images by Bay Area photographer Nathan Weyland. 

And whether you’re excited or aghast about the Supreme Court’s decision proclaiming same-sex marriage a constitutional right, there’s little denying how quickly change has come. It’s been fewer than a dozen years since the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that same-sex couples have a right to marry — it was the first of the nation’s highest state courts to do so — and as recently as 2004, no less than the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, described marriage as a sacred bond between … a man and a woman.

Then again, 12 years can be an epoch in terms of love and family. How many people do you know who’ve married or divorced — or both — since 2003? How many babies born, how many kids who’ve become adults? That sense of urgency was part of the majority’s rationale in Obergefell v. Hodges: It would not do to wait for the 13 states that did not allow gay marriage, the justices argued. Families need solid ground beneath their feet, no matter what they look like.

But while the decision unleashed much joy, it also created bitter dissent. On the Supreme Court, four justices complained that their colleagues had created a whole new constitutional right. A few states, including Louisiana, are resisting. And looking ahead, there’s little doubt that Obergefell will play a role in the coming presidential election. Conservative groups are already fixing to make Supreme Court nominees a big deal in the campaign: strict constructionists only! But with 63 percent of Americans supporting gay marriage — including traditionally conservative constituencies like libertarians and Mormons — we suspect gay marriage has limited utility as a wedge issue. After all, love is love.