Saturday, June 22, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: A Week of Big Victories


We’ve just lived through a great week in history! It was a triumphant week not only for the Obama Administration, but also for the civil rights of all Americans. We saw the Supreme Court of the United States decide the constitutional future of the Fair Housing Act, the Healthcare Law, also known as Obamacare, and also marriage equality for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It was a historic week for the entire country as the High Court affirmed that within our Constitution there is no space for institutional discrimination, a huge win for equality for all Americans.

In the case of the Fair Housing Act, where five justices voted in favor and four in dissent, the Court decided that unintentional discrimination is covered under the 1968 law that prohibits the discrimination on the basis of race, sex or disability in the sale of residential or rental properties, stating that it is unnecessary to prove intent of discrimination for something to be considered discriminatory, since there are countless ways to disguise discrimination. The Court ordered that the government has a right to prohibit inconsistent discrimination concerning access to housing.

In another important decision, by a vote of six to three, the Supreme Court decided to uphold subsidies that the federal government grants to help Americans who qualify to purchase medical insurance, thanks to Obamacare. With pride, President Obama said, “the law is here to stay,” as the subsidies are now considered basic pillars of the law. This is very good news for our community, as the percentage of Latinos without insurance has lessened to below 29%. Despite everything, the Republican presidential candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush quickly expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision and against the law that, according to them, is ruining the country. They have promised to repeal it.

The Supreme Court also finalized the case for marriage equality when it comes to same-sex couples. With a 5-4 vote, the Court decided that under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the government cannot discriminate against same-sex couples, extending and expanding marriage equality to all 50 states. President Obama, an ally of the LGBTQ community, catalogued this victory by exclaiming that “Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect.” The Court, as it has done on other occasions, affirmed that in this country we must not allow there to be second-class citizens, which is great news for our Latino brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.

Without a doubt, it had been a very important week, and I agree with the President, thanks to those decisions by the High Court, we have made our nation more perfect, more tolerant and more equal, and that better reflects our American values. But there remains work to do. We still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform and protect the rights of workers, but first and foremost, we need to treat others with acceptance and dignity to be able to progress. Congratulations friends!

This article originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.