The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court heard arguments today about the Defense of Marriage Act that blocks the government from acknowledging same-sex marriage.

Part of the DOMA provisions excludes Social Security, pension benefits, and bankruptcy benefits from being given to legally married gay couples that live in states that recognize such unions.

Earlier in the week, the Supreme Court also heard oral arguments about California’s Proposition 8 that bans same-sex marriage in the state.

The court is expected to make a decision by June.

However, the court of public opinion varies.  Some students remain conflicted with their faith and the shifting cultural views on gay marriage.

“Well it’s really tough because first and foremost I’m a Christian, I’m a believer.  So my belief, based off of my faith is that you know a union put together by God is of a man and a woman,” Christina Sallis said.  “But then there are my views of discrimination and as a black woman that weighs heavily on my heart as well.  I don’t think anybody should be denied happiness.”

Sallis went on to say that she would be okay with gays getting married but not necessarily in a church.

Corey Gaines also shared some of the same conflictions.

“Growing up as a Christian background, I’m always taught that marriage is between a husband and a wife but at the same time, I feel that if you love someone who happens to be the same gender, you should be with them,” Gaines said.  “You shouldn’t have the approval to love someone.”

McClure Brooks-Tolley feels that the court will eventually support gay marriage.

“I think they are going to rule that, I mean I hope they rule that the law is unconstitutional,” Brooks-Tolley said.

“My views are that legally it should be perfectly fine to get married.  The church can have their own opinion because we have first amendment rights,” Katie Williamson said.  “But legally if there isn’t equality in marriage, it’s trampling on civil rights.”

Journalism professor Mike Tonos, who also was managing editor at the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, gave insights into the Supreme Court media coverage.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty well-captured to some degree.  As far as I can tell, it’s been fairly balanced…I think it’s always dangerous to speculate on the Supreme Court and try to read too much into their questions or their attitudes toward it,” Tonos said.

Tonos also questioned what type of coverage local papers might give on the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The one thing I don’t know if you’ll see, especially in small town newspapers, is the coverage at the local level.  Because I’m not sure a lot of the local media have identified the gay community within their audience,” Tonos said.  “Or that the gay community is actually a ‘community’ where there are people who will serve as spokespeople for it.”

However, not everyone wants gay marriage to be legalized.  Jessi Foust looks to her faith to decide her opinion.

“Well I’m a Christian and so I believe that a marriage in a relationship is supposed to be between a man and a woman.  As it says in the Bible, basically homosexuality is a perversion,” Foust said.  “It doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike homosexuals, it’s just that I don’t believe that that’s right.”

Foust does think that the Supreme Court will eventually legalize same-sex marriage because so many people accept it as part of the culture more than they have in the past.

Polls have shown that a slight majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage.  Also, President Obama became the first president to announce publicly his support for gay marriage in 2012.

The Supreme Court does not just rely on public opinion to decide matters, but instead relies on the Constitution.  No matter its decision, the Supreme Court’s decision will be historic.

Above is an audio recording of the opinions of several Ole Miss students and Professor Mike Tonos.

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