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Person of the Week: SCOTUS

OK, this is not “a person.” But if Ebola Fighters can be TIME magazine’s person of the year for 2104, then we can celebrate the Supreme Court of the United States – and specifically justices Kennedy, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Kagan and Breyer – for rocking our world this week, both off- and online.

On Friday 26, the Supreme Court found marriage bans in four states unconstitutional, thus declaring that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states. Seconds after the court’s 5-4 marriage-equality decision was announced,  #LoveWins lit up as the number one trending term on Twitter.  

 

In Dallas, Jack Evans, 85 and George Harris, 82, were the first couple to marry post-SCOTUS decision. They’ve been together for 54 years.

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Especially for many seniors, marriage equality is about more than love. As Justice Kennedy noted in his majority opinion, “The petitioners seek [marriage] for themselves because of their respect–and need–for its privileges and responsibilities.” As state after state has legalized same sex marriage, longstanding older couples have been among the first to show up at their local courthouses, and most have cited serious legal and financial issues of special concern to seniors as reasons for getting hitched (see Senior Pride: Seven Reason to Love the Rainbow on Senior Planet). Among those reasons:  

  • Survivor benefits
  • Tax exemptions
  • Hospitals must honor joint life or death decisions
  •  The right to co-habit in senior residences
  • Family visitation rights in hospitals and nursing homes

Here’s the court’s wrap-up to it’s historic decision:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”

Bravo, SCOTUS

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