The other day I posted about today’s Sixth Circuit Appeals Court event when six cases from four states will be heard by a three judge panel. Think Progress is suggesting we may not have a victory there because two of the three judges are very conservative, but time will tell. Here is a link to another post at the NCRM blog that details these cases, and it’s a really good read.

One of the other items that caught my attention was that yesterday, a fourth judge in Florida has decided a case naming the Florida ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Between these, that 10 cases within five states! And that’s not counting the rest of the entire United States. Why are there so many marriage equality cases? Why is there not just one case per state until the US Supreme Court makes a final decision? Florida is a perfect example of the way real lives are affected by the discrimination same-sex couples face across most of the country. The battle for marriage equality, isn’t really about the ability to say, “I do,” but more about everything that comes after that exclamation. This is regarding the Florida case:

Circuit Judge Diana Lewis’ opinion was tied to a probate case surrounding the death of Frank Bangor, a man who owned property in Florida and married W. Jason Simpson in Delaware, where gay marriage is legal. Lewis is running for reelection this month.
Under Florida law, a spouse is recognized as a personal representative of an estate provided the out-of-state marriage is recognized as valid under state law. Simpson, through attorney Andrew Fein, petitioned Lewis to be recognized as Bangor’s personal representative despite a ban on gay marriage in Florida.

Opponents to marriage equality cite religious objections and unsubstantiated claims about the degradation of society. But at the end of the day Civil Marriage is a contract that allows individuals to form and protect their families. And there are families that have existed- they are already real. To listen to the opponents, we can’t allow same-sex marriage because of what horrible things will happen down the road. But in reality, we can’t afford to not have same-sex marriage to protect and support the many, many same-sex couples and families that already exist and have been in existence.

The situation faced by Simpson and Bangor in Florida is not unique to them or to Florida. Same-sex couples across the country have lives where they live on the edge. Not fringe in a wild and crazy  way, but rather lacking the base protections and fiscal support that allow for families to grow and be strong. Even when couples go through all the paperwork, legal fees and other assorted stuff to try and create the fiscal stability they need, it is often not enough. The solution is marriage equality throughout the entire United States. And fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how optimistic you feel, the process to accomplish that is a judicial one which requires starting at the lowest appropriate court and can work up through the system.

These judicial journeys would not be needed if we had a working legislative government working for all of the people. It shouldn’t be that hard to pass legislation that allows couples like Simpson and Bangor to build a life together, secure their future, and care for one another.But our legislative system is bankrupt run by those who protect the wealthy by maintaining a big gap between the haves and have nots. They work in collusion with religious zealots  who use fear mongering and judgement of others to gain control.

Many folks are supporting marriage equality with the LGBTQ community and outside of it, because it is the right thing to do. It can be easy to get focused on winning and the more general battle, but underneath it all are people like Simpson and Bangor, whose real life situation illustrates perfectly why marriage equality is needed now, everywhere, by everyone.

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