By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
8:44 AM EDT, April 10, 2014
That pesky question of whether marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution? It's back.
Or, more to the point, same-sex marriage advocates are getting closer than ever to getting the Supreme Court to actually answer it once and for all.
The "fundamental" question has become a laser focus of advocates since the Supreme Court skirted around it in two rulings last summer, one allowing gay marriage to move forward in California and another striking down a key provision within the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
While not setting a definitive precedent, those rulings did put a massive amount of momentum behind court and legislative efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in states across the country. A couple of those cases speak to the fundamental right question and have now progressed so rapidly that they could land the issue before the Supreme Court once more.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver will be considering Utah's ban on same-sex marriage today. That case, and another in Virginia, could "tee up the issue in time for the Supreme Court term that begins in October," the Washington Post reported.
The speed at which the same-sex marriage fight has accelerated since last summer's Supreme Court rulings has been unprecedented. Were the nation's top court to issue another ruling that speaks more to the heart of the real question at hand -- whether marriage is a fundamental right -- that battle would jump into warp speed.
Based on the last few months, those following the issue might want to buckle up.
Beyond the ever-present benchmark issue of marriage, plenty of other LGBT news has popped up this week, too.
- NCAA Division I basketball has its first openly gay player: Derrick Gordon, of the University of Massachusetts. "Now that I'm taking the mask off, people can finally see who I really am," Gordon told Outsports.
- Beyonce is the latest muse of Out Magazine, waxing on about feminism and what being a woman means to her. At one point, of her latest album and its resonating with the LGBT community, the pop diva says, "I'm very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority... We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love." Check out the full story here.
- Want to check out "a private collection of found photographic slides that depict Kansas City’s early drag ball culture throughout the 1950s and 1960s," as discovered by two friends who independently came across the images by chance? If so, check out their fascinating project "Private Birthday Party," or head over to The Cut to get more of the back story.
- OK, back to marriage. This may come as no surprise to LGBT folks who are old hats by now at talking convincingly about why same-sex marriage makes sense, but those sorts of conversations can really change minds, according to a new study. According to the Huffington Post, the study found "face-to-face conversations with someone who supports same-sex marriage can lead opponents to have significant and long-lasting shifts in their views about marriage equality, especially when the person they're talking to is gay."
I think it's safe to say the sweep of same-sex marriage court cases of late and the Supreme Court stage have also been conversation starters. Do you have any stories of changing minds on matters of LGBT rights?
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