US Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage Nationwide

In a shocking turn of events, at least for anti-gay marriage proponents, the US Supreme Court today ruled that denying marriage to certain classes of citizens is a denial of equitable treatment laws and the US Constitution. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage laws must treat all parties equitably, though there are many other forms of marriage states can still legally deny, for now. Gay marriage legalization has removed the ban still law in 14 US states.

Gay couples rushed to get married in various states with a previous ban, such as Texas, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia. US President Obama called the ruling “a victory for America” saying that increased equality is a benefit for the nation.  However, many anti-gay marriage advocates, such as the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, called it a tyrannical imposition of the federal government on the rights of states.

The Controversy’s History in America

States have historically been the ones that have set marriage policies and rules. This has allowed states to block marriages that they deem “unfit” for the last several centuries. Not only did this include gay marriage, but also marriages of siblings and those under the age of 18. However, the Supreme Court ruling turned this on its head, at least partially. In the ruling the majority judgment stated gay couples could not be discriminated against by state laws, as there was no basis for the discrimination under various equal protection federal laws, and the US Constitution.

Historically, states have been the ones to dictate marriage laws, and this in fact will not be changing by this ruling. States still have the right to discriminate certain parties, just not those based upon sexual orientation, at least for now. The minority opinion in this ruling did state that this could open the door for challenges for other prohibitions of marriage in states (such as siblings or first cousins), but so far, this has not been taken up in court as of yet.

At the Scene of the Ruling Today

Loud cheers were heard immediately following the ruling with many people breaking into a chant of “USA! USA!” upon hearing the news.  There were very few anti-gay activists at the US Supreme Court this morning, being easily overwhelmed by thousands of gay rights supporters. Within minutes of the ruling couples were lining up at courthouses across most states that previously had a ban, such as Georgia and Texas.  One Ohio resident at the courthouse said he had hoped soon the idea of gay marriage would be a thing of the past, and instead people would just think of this as “marriage” and equal for all. He had been dealing with the fallout of his partner who died some years ago, and he couldn’t get survivor benefits from his pension as they were not legally married.

The first US state to legalize same sex marriage was Massachusetts in 2004.  After a decade of legal turmoil and states successfully banning it in their  state Constitutions (which would be difficult to remove in the future), 2015 marks the end of that struggle for those supporters of marriage equality. Although it will be a challenge to drag people into the future, many same-sex marriage advocates say the move in that direction is now inevitable.

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Vice President Joe Biden’s Son, Beau Biden Dies after Battle with Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden announced that his oldest son, Beau Biden, passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. Beau Biden, who was the former attorney general of the state of Delaware, was only 46 years old. During his diagonsis of brain cancer, he had previously announced he would run for governor in the state of Delaware next year. Beau Biden was a major in the National Guard for the state of Delaware having served there for a number of years. His diagnosis began in 2010 when he suffered a stroke, which was followed by a surgery 3 years later due to a brain lesion.

President Obama in an address mentioned the courage and integrity of Beau Biden, noting that he “took after his dad” following in his footsteps in his legal education and political career. In 1972, a car accident resulted in the death of Joe Biden’s first wife and infant daughter. He was newly elected to the U.S. Senate at the time, but wound up being sworn in at the hospital where his wife and young daughter were being treated. After this, Joe Biden notably made it a point to regularly drive home to Delaware to spend as much time with his children as possible.

President Obama Honors Beau Biden

President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy at the funeral for Beau Biden, having passed away a week before. Obama praised Beau’s service to his country, comparing his “big heart” to that of his father, the Vice President. When he concluded his eulogy, the President stepped down from the podium at the St. Anthony Padua Church and embraced Joe Biden, kissing him on the cheek. The President’s comments broke with his usual unemotional appeals, showing his love and care for both the Vice President and his son.

Obama noted that the integrity of Beau Biden was shown strongest in his refusal to run for the U.S. Senate, because he felt the need to help the people of Delaware. In recent years Beau had made a name for himself in the state helping to protect children who were victims of abuse.

Vice President Joe Biden did not speak during the funeral, but his daughter Ashley and son Hunter eulogized their brother during the ceremony. The arrival of his eldest son’s cortege was led by a pipe band with the Vice president following behind in dark glasses and the rest of the family looking bereft as they followed the hearse towards the cathedral.  Political allies to Joe Biden and those from the other party attended, with majority leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell attending as well as Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The funeral on Saturday closely followed two days of mourning for Beau Biden, which had showcased the unfortunate deep emotional anguish of the Vice President. The American flag over the White House had been lowered to half staff for the funeral on Saturday as well to honor Joe Biden’s son. Over 1000 people were at the Cathedral today to mourn for Beau Biden, and many politicians were there including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

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