With the unofficial start of summer having come and gone, June is quickly approaching. For those fighting in favor of gay rights a great and ominous question is now beginning to ruminate: What will be the Supreme Court’s rulings for the United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry cases argued at the end of March?
Opinions are varied. Many will argue that the time of justice for the LGBT community is here. The United States cannot afford to further delay the institution of equality among varied sexual identities. By contrast, many have said the event of great change is well ahead of its time. While public opinion appears to suggest that America is leaning towards a more modern understanding of homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality and gender identity, therein remains the argument of morality. Morality, though relative, often wins, which suggests that while America is listening more, they don’t yet wholly accept it.
In New York, there has been a significant rise in crimes against the gay community – especially involving violent crimes against gay men. Several openly gay men, including activists and well-known members of the community, have been taunted with callous gay slurs and in some cases beaten, leaving them hospital-bound. In one case on May 17th a young man was in fact killed after being taunted by hate-mongering bullies for being gay. The word of homicide quickly spread through the community and put everyone on very high alert.
This rise in crime has been said to be a psychological backlash against the growing support for gay rights, including gay marriage. Twelve states have officially recognized gay marriage as legitimate and fully legal, including New York itself. This spread of success for the gay community has left those in its opposition with a sense of failure and fear that they are losing the battle. It can be said that fear breeds anger and hate, which is what we are seeing more prominently with every equal rights milestone.
The Supreme Court’s official rulings for United States v. Windsor, which includes the upholding or the dismissal of DOMA, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which includes the upholding or dismissal of California’s Proposition 8, are both expected at the end of June this year. What is to be expected?
Many experts say it could be a tight ruling. The liberal and conservative extremes among the collective justices do not seem to necessarily be playing a major role in the direction with which they lean. Many conservatives have been outspoken in favor of gay rights, while many liberals have argued against it. It has been implied as of recent that the swing vote could be Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Kennedy has been the swing vote for several cases in the recent past. Since the initial hearing in March, three U.S. states and three countries, including France, have passed gay marriage. It is certainly realistic that these landmark events have influenced Justice Kennedy, as well as others, in favor of striking down DOMA and Proposition 8 this June.