by Camilla Taylor, Counsel and Marriage Project National Director, Lambda Legal
As the four legal teams representing same-sex couples from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan left the Supreme Court after oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, we felt overwhelmed by the significance of the moment. The Supreme Court is now poised in our combined cases to decide whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Many of us had worked toward this day for well over a decade or longer.
However, while a victory in Obergefell would be historic, it would not be the end, even for our marriage work. A movement to secure civil rights is never finished by a Supreme Court ruling, no matter how important that ruling may be.
As we have seen after past marriage court victories, states determined to discriminate do not simply give up. Instead, for example, they fight to deny the children of same-sex spouses two-parent birth certificates. Same-sex spouses who were precluded from marrying until recently, or whose marriages were denied recognition as a result of discriminatory state marriage bans, may still have to fight for crucial marital protections subject to a relationship duration requirement (such as social security benefits for a surviving spouse, which accrue only to those who were married for more than nine months under state law).