Why Showing Support for Gay Marriage Matters

by Stephanie Ribet

equal sign

As the Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments about two cases related to same-sex marriage, DOMA and Proposition 8, the ongoing debate about gay marriage has intensified.  This issue seems particularly important to students, which explains why social media sites are dominated by discussions about marriage equality.  Within the Princeton community, it is amazing to see so many students posting the iconic pink equal symbol developed by the Human Rights Campaign on their Facebook page.  Nonetheless, a number of people have criticized the Human Rights Campaign’s social media campaign for being somewhat in vain, as the Supreme Court does not factor public opinion, let alone Facebook posts, in its decisions.  Thus, why does it matter? Why is it important to show support for gay marriage now?

According to Nate Silver, support for same sex marriage is at an all time high, and it outweighs the opposition. Yet, this has not translated into electoral success, likely because older citizens tend to vote, while younger ones support gay marriage.

In recent cases dealing with social issues, the Supreme Court has addressed questions about what is considered a fundamental right.  In its upcoming decision, it must decide whether marriage should be considered a basic right and if it extends to same sex couples. Americans may overwhelmingly accept gay marriage, but only few vociferously support it. Therefore, if we want marriage equality to be a reality, it is important to show the Court that Americans stand behind marriage equality.  Hopefully then, when the Supreme Court deliberates whether or not marriage is a fundamental right, it will understand that Americans already see it as such.

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