Freedom and justice for some

States continue denying same-sex couples their right to marry.

At the beginning of this month, as the nation celebrated “freedom and justice for all,” the highest courts of two more states declared freedom and justice apply only to heterosexuals. It is shameful that states continue to discriminate solely on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled to reinstate the gay marriage ban, while New York decided not to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Aside from being discriminatory, these rulings – especially the one in New York – will have far-reaching consequences. Other states will look to these rulings for guidance when they determine what rights to give citizens. Judging from what has happened thus far, things look bleak for GLBT citizens.

It is no secret GLBT citizens do not have equal protection under the law. Considering the current administration’s rhetoric and posturing, it is no surprise that progressively more states are codifying discrimination into their constitutions and denying same-sex couples all the rights that come along with marriage. What is surprising, however, is the fact that New York now counts itself among these states.

New York is internationally known as one of the cultural meccas of the world and a place where people, regardless of background, can come together and make society work. In a state that is known for tolerance and an independent streak, its highest court eschewed a chance to stand for civil rights in favor of the status quo. While it is no surprise that Georgia, a state with a gay-marriage ban already in place, ruled to continue the gay-marriage ban, it is saddening that New York simply refused to acknowledge that same-sex couples have rights, especially when so many citizens of the GLBT community reside in its most famous city.

So far, the only state to take a stand for civil rights and same-sex couples is the state of Massachusetts, and even that is threatened as its Legislature will move to vote on same-sex marriage’s continued existence next year.

As every state continues to send their sons and daughters to fight for freedom and justice abroad, when will states take a stand for it at home?