By Marilyn M. Williams, PhD
If you’ve read the news in the past few days you’ve seen this refrain: Love Wins. Of course, this is in reference to the Supreme Court ruling on Friday which established same-sex marriage as a right for all Americans.
This ruling is more than about love; it has effects and implications that we are only beginning to discover.
Many studies have shown that marriage provides positive physical and mental health effects to spouses and that in same-sex marriages in particular it decreases stress.
More tangibly, it will allow spouses to be on health insurance, receive non-taxed retirement benefits and Social Security benefits, increase household income and remove all remaining barriers for married same-sex military couples and their families.
Most importantly, same-sex marriage allows you to choose your spouse to provide end-of-life decisions without lawyers or directives—because that is the person you chose to be with you until the end.
These benefits are not gifts, they are not stolen from anyone and are not divine in nature. They are just your rights.
As we begin to unpack the broader implications of this ruling, let us remember that if a group is disenfranchised, then we all suffer.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his April 16, 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”