If the Supreme Court Was Filled With 20 Somethings, Here Is How It Would Rule on Gay Marriage


While legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide still may not happen until after the apocalypse, marriage equality advocates everywhere will get an update on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on Friday afternoon. DOMA legally defines marriage as between one man and one woman for all federal purposes, and allows states to refuse to honor same-sex marriages recognized or performed in other states. Currently, there are several challenges to DOMA's constitutionality in the courts, including a case challenging California's Proposition 8, a state-wide ban on same-sex marriage.

Unlike the majority of millennials, the Supreme Court doesn't seem to be too concerned with taking a stance on marriage equality. But let's imagine — just for a second — that SCOTUS was actually responsive to the political leanings of the generation widely rumored to be political disengaged, apathetic, cheap, and always on our damn social media sites.

How would an all-millennial court rule on DOMA?

Option 1: Find Prop 8 unconstitutional, and potentially overturn DOMA.

Overturning Prop 8 is probably the most likely outcome, given that 64% of millennials support some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples (48% support legal marriage, and 19% support civil unions), according to the Pew Research Center. This number is up from 44% in 2004, and has been steadily rising, with some variation.

Option 2: Find marriage to be a totally bogus institution.

Forget about #myfriendsaremarried: Most millennials (75%) are unmarried, again according to Pew circa 2009. Why? Well, partially because we're young. (If you define millennials, as Pew does, as those between 18 and 28 years of age.) The average bride ties the knot at age 26.5, while the average groom ties on his cummerbund at age 28.7. Only 1 in 5 millennials is currently married, or roughly half the percentage of our parents who were married when they were our age. 

But beyond that, only 30% of millennials say that "having a successful marriage" is important to them, although we do place marriage and family above financial success. And it's not just us: Marriage rates are down across America. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans think the institution is obsolete. And only 22% of millennials think that living together without getting married is bad.

Option 3: Find marriage to be too expensive.

Seriously. Have you seen the latest job numbers? According to Pew, roughly 1 in 5 millennials report delaying marriage for financial reasons. We can't afford all the trappings of marital life; about 1 in 4 of us can barely make ends meet.