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June 26, 2015 — The possibilities of a nation

Many pundits are putting forth the notion that today’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case is a watershed moment for the United States.

It frankly shouldn’t have been.

Instead, it was the latest chapter for socioeconomic groups who have had to struggle to win a certain group of constitutional and civil rights they should have already had but for the actions of people looking to take away those rights from people.

For as much as our nation has revered the Constitution of the United States, it is, as written, an imperfect document. Slavery was written into the Constitution, and slaves were seen as 3/5 of a person in the decennial Census. The rights and freedoms within the document were, regrettably, reserved for only a few people.

It has taken many struggles to get women the right to vote, to give former slaves and their descendants equal rights in public accommodations, to give immigrants the opportunity to become citizens, and, finally, to allow members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and questioning communities (and their allies) the constitutional rights that marriage gives them.

Before today, same-sex couples in many parts of this country could not inherit one another’s property at the time of death, co-sign loans, adopt children, even visit each other in the hospital, because politicians specifically wrote policies and regulations barring them from the institution of marriage.

Those regulations are now gone; marriage equality is the supreme law of the land.

It’s been a long road since the Stonewall Inn riots, which took place 46 years ago this week in New York City. Activism on many sides has led to progress in issues large and small within the LGBTQQ(A) community. In the last few weeks, there have been numerous social mileposts, including those in sports.

But let’s also look ahead. Thinking of tonight’s quarterfinal match in the Women’s World Cup, there are two members of the women’s national soccer team, Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe, who are gay. And the thing is, the sexual orientation angle has not been brought up at all. It is treated the same way as the heterosexual marriages of other members of the team.

Meanwhile, tonight’s opponent, China, is one of a number of countries in this year’s Women’s World Cup which has not only been slow to change, but has outright hostility to same-sex culture. Indeed, only a few months after China lost the 1999 Women’s World Cup on penalty kicks, a court in Beijing homosexuality was “abnormal and unacceptable to the Chinese public.”

There’s still a lot of work to do.

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