This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert, Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com. You can follow her on Twitter @gayweddingscom. GayWeddings.com is the leading online boutique and resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999 and a partner in the WeddingWire Network. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, now available in nationwide release.
The tailwind that escorted same-sex marriage at the polls into a record-breaking three state marriage equality victory in the fall of 2012 (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) continues to blow.
In the past few weeks, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota all joined the ranks of states embracing marriage equality to bring the national count now to twelve (12) states and the District of Columbia. And, eyes have now turned to Illinois where efforts have increased to encourage its legislature to upgrade its Civil Union laws to full marriage equality as the fourth of four states to do so this spring. Meanwhile, Colorado also celebrated a recent victory when its legislature voted to recognized Civil Unions and ceremonies began on May 1.
Meanwhile, though more clarity than ever arises in support of marriage equality — as popular opinion continues to rise in favor of same-sex marriage and as more thought-leaders and politicians — some controversy remains.
Take, for example, the battle around religious exemptions in Washington State. There a florist turned down the wedding services of two long-time clients who got engaged as a result of the change in state law. They have since sued her and she is now suing the state, claiming that the state is violating her religious beliefs.
Across the country in Massachusetts, however, where marriage has been legal for all couples for almost ten years, Gov. Duval Patrick shares in a recent editorial how folks in his home state have realized that the “sky has not fallen” and that all that same-sex couples want is the chance to be “ordinary.”
I and other experts are now turning our eyes toward the Supreme Court, where it is expected that a ruling on California’s Proposition 8 and section 3 of DOMA, the law which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married, will be handed down in late June. The results could mean a wide range of things, but the Human Rights Campaign has created a simple summary to explain four likely categories of outcomes. It is seen as highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would rule in a way that would recognized marriage equality as the law of the land, but anything is possible.
More likely, is a result which reinstates marriage equality in California, followed by a slim chance of the recognition of federal benefits only to those couples who are legally married in states which currently recognize marriage equality. (Those states are: MA, IA, CT, NH, VT, NY WA, MD, ME, RI, DE, MN, and Washington DC.)
One thing for sure: it stands to reason that this year’s LGBT Pride Month in June will be one for the record books!