The Same-Sex Weddings That Never Were

Right now, the Supreme Court is weighing a case with life-changing implications for the LGBT community across America. Namely, whether or not the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of same-sex couples to marry. It's the second colossal same-sex marriage case the court has heard over the last few years, with 2013's United States v. Windsor having opened up marriage equality across the states in a big way — it's now legal in 37 U.S. states. But there were plenty of couples who ran out of time, as this powerful same-sex marriage ad speaks to. Hopefully, the court will turn in a ruling that makes nobody else wait a second longer than necessary.

The ad is from the Canadian chapter of longtime gay rights advocacy group PFLAG, and simply put, it's one of the most moving and effective pro-marriage equality spots you'll ever see. The conceit is pretty simple — grainy, faded footage of weddings gone by, ceremonies you'd imagine happening in the '60s and '70s or so. Except the people getting married are same-sex, and the time period that's being represented is clearly one when no state in America would've allowed such a union. The images, you see, are weddings that never got to be, joyful memories that were thwarted by discriminatory laws and culture. The spot is called "Nobody's Memories."

The ad was posted to YouTube on April 24, and really, you couldn't have hoped for better timing for such an evocative video. The current same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court (brought by 12 couples and two widowers, as detailed by CNN) specifically addresses state bans in Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan, but as is so often the case with Supreme Court rulings, the impact could go well beyond just those four states.

If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, then the number of states boasting full, legal same-sex marriage rights would swell to 41. But the power of the precedent could spark even more change — we could, in short, be heading towards nationwide legalization.

The significance of this can't be overstated. Any such notion seemed like a pipe dream as recently as just a decade ago, as President Bush had just wrapped up a victorious reelection campaign partially run on his call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage outright. How much difference 10 years makes, huh?

As detailed by The New York Times, the two-hours plus of oral arguments Tuesday shone a little light on what sorts of questions the justices might be considering. It's a common theme of Supreme Court coverage — what kinds of questions are the justices asking, and what do they suggest about the likely outcome? Making predictions off of this exercise is tricky business, however, and the actual ruling won't be out for quite some time — it could be a matter of weeks or months. Which is sad news, because as PFLAG Canada's ad speaks to brilliantly, nobody has forever to make new memories.

Images: PFLAG Canada (4)