(As posted to my Gazette blog on May 23)

How much will the losing battle to oppress same-sex couples ultimately cost the American taxpayer?

One doesn’t have to be a member of the legal profession to wonder if there might be some major class-action lawsuits filed by members of the gay and lesbian community against U.S. states that have had their bans on same-sex marriage ruled by the courts as unconstitutional and tossed out.

Courts have essentially said that state referendums on the gay marriage issue should never have been held, that they were discriminatory, and unfairly denied same-sex couples equal civil rights.

In other words, states had no business dictating the parameters of loving relationships and the rights that come with them. Those states that did oppress — or still are oppressing — same-sex couples have caused them a lot of grief and suffering. And you have to think that there will be waves of class actions against those states seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

And perhaps criminal charges might be filed against government officials and some of the lobbyists behind the anti-same-sex marriage movements in the U.S.

Perhaps some states will get off easy — those that legalized same-sex marriage on their own initiative or those who didn’t put up much of a fight in the courts. But what about states like Utah and Montana that are still fighting against same-sex marriage, believing they do have the right to dictate the parameters of love and to deny same-sex couples equal civil rights — despite all the court rulings that say they are wrong.

It reminds me of people who stubbornly held on to the belief that segregation should be permissible during the fight to give equal rights to African Americans, and kept discriminating throughout the struggle.

I suspect that states like Utah and Montana will not get off so easily — that the legal fallout will be very expensive for taxpayers and for officials there.

I may be wrong. I’m not a legal expert. I welcome opinions from legal experts in the United States — and, yes, I know some do read this blog, because you have contacted me before with opinions.

Send them to me at jpage@montrealgazette.com, and let me know if they can be published here or not.

– Jillian

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