DO YOU COPY?: Good to be on right side of history with DOMA ruling

The Daily News

After Illinois’ same-sex marriage bill stalled in the House in May, I was not sure how to react. Angry, because same-sex marriage in my home state would be delayed even longer. Glad, because at least they didn’t strike down the bill and halt progress even more.

In the end, I decided to rely on the virtue of patience. Just because the bill didn’t pass then, it didn’t mean it wouldn’t be passed in the near future. And now, I have even more reason to hope. 

Nearly 17 years after former President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, the Supreme Court finally knocked down a crucial part of the act. Now, legally married same-sex couples qualify for the same federal rights as all other heterosexual couples.

And with this decision, same-sex marriage in Illinois — and the rest of the U.S., for that matter — feels a whole lot closer.

In a statement Wednesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn matched this hope for Illinois to move forward.

“Today the Supreme Court took a historic step by providing equal access to more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits for same-sex couples,” Quinn said in the statement. “Members of the Illinois House now have more than 1,100 new reasons to make marriage equality the law in Illinois.”

This Supreme Court decision not only means 1,100 new reasons to make same-sex marriage legal in Illinois, but 1,100 new reasons in every state where it has yet to be legalized.

As of today, 18 percent of Americans live in a state where marriage equality exists. Since the Supreme Court decisions Wednesday also led to the end of Proposition 8 in California, soon marriage equality will resume there. That will raise the percentage of Americans living under marriage equality to 30 percent. If Illinois follows these footsteps in the near future, that percentage will rise to 34 percent. In other words, over a third of the U.S. population would have marriage equality.

While the nation clearly has a long way to go, this progress is something to celebrate. I never expected the Supreme Court to fully legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. Taking such a step would be unprecedented given the court’s history. Nonetheless, they took a step in the right direction Wednesday. Headway is being made. 

The new benefits same-sex married couples will have with the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA will provide them with a wealth of benefits financially. But we’ve seen that same-sex marriage would not just benefit same-sex couples financially. 

In New York’s first year of having same-sex marriage legalized, the state’s economy received a $259 million boost, according to a CNN article. Along with that, the state received $16 million in tax revenue. The article also cites estimates that, if legalized nationally, it could provide an extra $1 billion for the Federal budget.

Why deny something that exemplifies our nation’s principles of liberty and equality? Our nation can no longer deny how same-sex marriage will benefit our nation in principle, financially and in so many other ways.

For now, I’m proud to be standing on the right side of history. And at some point down the road, I will be proud that the marriage equality debate has become history, no longer a worry of the present. It’s only a matter of time.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue