A university professor predicts that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule against bans on same-sex marriage this week.
There has been a remarkable change in public opinion in the past five years, and the court will cause more tension if it votes in opposition, Sanford Levinson, professor of constitutional law and government, said. A 2013 study held by the Pew Research Center showed a majority of Americans endorse gay marriages — among those aged 18 to 29, support is as high as 70 percent.
“Even four years ago, the court may have found that the safe thing to do was not intervene, but today politics are different,” Levinson said. “The court will get lots of applause, and many politicians will be ecstatic if the court takes this issue out of the 2016 race.”
The question is less about whether the court will affirm marriage equality and more about how, Levinson said. The court could focus on the purpose of marriage or the fourteenth amendment’s anti-discrimination clause.
“[Illegality of] marriage is one illustration of discrimination against the LGBT community, and that would have more implications for a variety of laws that discriminate,” Levinson said.
Although statistics show it is increasingly common for youths to support gay marriage, they should be conscious of the effort it took to get here, law student Louis Lobel said.
“Don’t forget about the many LGBTQ people that suffered to get to this point,” Lobel said, who is vice president of OUTlaw, an LGBTQ student organization in the law school. “[Now,] nobody wants to be on the wrong side of history.”
Many American corporations showed support for gay rights in March by opposing proposed legislation aiming to allow businesses to deny service to gay people. Levinson said this showed an unprecedented level of support for the LGBT community in American politics.
“These shifts by major businesses are influencing Republican candidates to come out against legislation designed to stop same-sex marriages,” Levinson said.
While the political climate is warming up to marriage equality, there are more issues politicians need to address on a state or national level, said Jordan Wilk, English junior and event coordinator for the QueerStudent Alliance.
“The community still faces a variety of issues, such as youth homelessness after coming out to their families and murders and everyday violence of queer and trans people of color,” Wilk said.