As we now know in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, pronounced that all “gay” couples in the U.S. have obtained the right to be equal under the law to marry, thereby enshrining the same spousal obligations and rights enjoyed (or not) in heterosexual unions. Of course, this ruling will never sway bigots or religious zealots who love to misquote the Bible. So while some in the U.S. will, undoubtedly, still remain close-minded on this issue, same sex couples rejoiced.

The long fought right comes with the hope, said Jim Obergefell last year (the face of the case before the High Court) that the term “gay marriage” will soon become simply marriage.  Unfortunately, I do not think Mr. Obergefell will ever live to see that day, for several reasons.

Firstly, people like to categorize everything.  If they didn’t, shouldn’t all U.S. citizens be known simply as Americans? They are not. There are so many distinctions, even within same groups, that melting those terms down into a boilerplate term is Utopian.

For example, there were African slaves who became Negroes, or Coloureds, who then became Blacks, who are now African Americans, but never just Americans.

There are European Americans and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Sons (SAR) who are direct descendants of persons involved in liberating the U.S. from the colonizers.  There are Mexican Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, Right Wing Americans (and Left of course), Real Americans (haven’t heard this to be a misnomer yet). And of course, there are the true Americans – Native American Indians.

So with all those “distinct Americans” still at large, how could the term “gay marriage” ever become extinct? Or morph into “simply marriage”?

Further, given the  5 to 4 decision, I foresee that this issue will never truly be considered settled in the U.S. for some time to come (just like Quebec separation still overshadows us here given the 50.58% / 49.42%  No vs. Yes vote in 1995).

After all, in another landmark USA case, ROE v. WADE, the High Court ruled 7 to 2 in favour of a woman’s right to abortion. Nonetheless, and ever since, Conservative Presidents have appointed Conservative Judges to that bench, partly in the hopes, I am sure, that some day that decision might be revisited and overturned.

Have you ever paused to consider, we never seem satisfied with anything. Ever. Nations are not happy with other nations (Greece, Israel). Indigenous peoples are not happy with their colonizers (Mohawks). Politicians are not happy with each other (okay, that we get).  Religious believers are not happy with the beliefs of others (ISIS), and the list goes on and on.

Foremost, and the root cause perhaps of these dilemmas, is that we are not happy with ourselves. And why should we be? Advertising particularly is continually bombarding us with examples of why we aren’t happy and what we should do about it. You’re not happy with your laundry detergent, use our product instead; you’re not happy with your mortgage/bank come to us, you are not happy with your dating system, ours is better (unless you were using Ashley Madison).

Have you ever noticed that one dating service advertises that they have more 2nd dates than any other? Of course, we are not told the stats after those 2nd dates, or how many of those resulting in marriages actually last. And if you’re not happy with your spouse, divorce.

But I digress. There is a myriad of ads, articles and commercials which tell us why we are not happy with our hair, teeth, face, weight, eating habits, medicines, politicians, and the like. In fact, we have become so unhappy about our outward appearance that we then need to consult experts to “fix” our unhappy inner selves. We are never just happy!

I am not saying we all can’t improve on things, but until we accept who we are inside and learn to be happy in our own persons, we will always find fault with the outside around us.  “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is a song we all need to channel to overcome all the subliminal messages we absorb daily telling us why we aren’t happy.

When we learn to adhere to the song’s mantra, maybe we will finally able to be happy.

Me. Hammerschmid has practiced Family Law since 1982; Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates; founding & current member of Family Law Association of Quebec (past Secretary for 28 years). Inquiries treated confidentially: 514-846-1013 or hammerschmid@vif.com
© 2016 Linda Hammerschmid

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