A New Generation and the End of DOMA

It’s all about the Supreme Court lately! Recent decisions handed down dealt with hot topics like affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act, and marriage equality. It was the Supreme Court equivalent of a much anticipated season finale.

Especially amongst young adults, no other case in recent memory paralleled the kind of attention received by United States v. Windsor. On June 26, Justice Kennedy joined the four liberal-leaning justices in overturning and rendering unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Same-sex marriage has traditionally been one of the most divisive and controversial issues in politics, but this decision had my Facebook newsfeed exploding in approval. Obviously, my personal Facebook is not a proper sampling of the American population, but polls have shown that public opinion on gay marriage has shifted dramatically in the last decade.

<> on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.

For the first time in history, more people support than oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. Many lawmakers, including several Republicans, have followed suit and announced public support in favor of marriage equality. President Clinton, who signed DOMA in 1996, penned his own opposition to the law. So what brought on this national change of heart?

One possibility lies with the younger generation: compared to the older populations, “Millennials,” people born after 1980, show overwhelming support for marriage equality. The rise of social media may also play a role in shaping the views of young adults, giving way to “trendy” opinions.

And while it’s true that certain views have the tendency to become fad-like (I still remember the explosion of Livestrong bracelets), let’s give ourselves a bit more credit. The defeat of DOMA in the Supreme Court is a significant win for the LGBT community. Maybe it’s accurate that what the “me me me generation” really supports is Facebook likes. But maybe, setting cynicism aside, we are also celebrating an important step for progress and equality.

What do you think about the rulings? Leave us a comment!


Serena Yin graduated with a degree in English from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. She is joining the Washington Reading Corps to promote literacy in local schools. A New England native, she loves ballet, beaches, and hamburgers. When she’s not on the hunt for the nearest Starbucks, she’s working on realizing her lifelong dream of meeting J.K. Rowling.


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