Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River

By Katie East

A lot has changed in our country in the last week. Usually, change comes gradually. But last week, it hit us like a semi-truck filled with freedom and glitter.

In an unexpected twist, the Supreme Court voted in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. And just a couple of days before that, they voted in favor of keeping the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” Basically, Obama is going for broke in the last years of his presidency, and it’s paying off.

Obama and bald eagle memes aside, this week wasn’t just a victory for Democrats. It’s a win for everyone, and it’s proof that our higher courts and politicians are now listening to the quickly changing will of the people—or at least, hopefully, the majority of it. Just look at all the rainbow colored profile pictures on Facebook for proof of that.

The ruling on Obamacare, though met with much less pomp and pageantry, was also a huge win for the majority. And, it might even have a greater long-term effect on our country. As someone who has been an avid supporter of Obamacare, and whose life has possibly been saved by it, I let out a sigh of relief last week.

Though the Affordable Heath Care Act was voted in 2010, conservatives have been fighting its legality since its inception. Though this win doesn’t change a lot for Obamacare now it means it is here to stay for the millions of Americans who are finally able to have health care coverage for the first time in their lives.

The Supreme Court decision basically ensured that in 2017, the Affordable Health Care Act won’t be disappearing as soon as Obama walks out the door. Or, as the President said, universal health care is now “woven into the fabric of America.”

Speaking of fabric, gay pride celebrations got turned up a notch last week with the biggest national change many of us millennials have ever seen. SCOTUS worked overtime to keep the media and politicians on their toes.

Last week, gays, bisexuals, and straight allies alike celebrated around the nation at the win for equality. To be honest, I was shocked to see how many people supported the ruling. I have always been a staunch supporter of gay rights, but I thought as a straight person I was one of only a few. I know it’s not a scientific poll, but I personally didn’t see one friend or acquaintance speak out against the decision.

That’s not to say those people weren’t just being quiet and polite even though they didn’t agree with the ruling. And honestly, I can appreciate that too. Change is a hard pill to swallow, and I’m certain in time those people will learn that this decision was for the good of all people, not just the LGBT community. The Supreme Court didn’t rule against straight marriages; its ruling just proved that the government can’t put stipulations on consenting adults’ relationships.

And just as recently as this weekend, old Bobby Jindal had to come around too. Louisiana was the last state in the nation to hold out on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Many of us feared Bobby would spend the state’s money fighting this one to the bitter end.

On Sunday, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Bobby Jindal said: “We don’t have a choice but to comply, even though I think this decision was the wrong one.”

In fact, despite his pandering to the right, recently Jindal signed a couple of very important bipartisan bills that really helped out our state. His unpopular decisions have really been at the forefront in the media, but his admirable stance on marijuana laws and “revenge porn” haven’t been mentioned.

Just this month, Jindal approved bills that reduce Louisiana’s harsh criminal penalties for possession of marijuana and helped to regulate the growing, prescribing and distribution pot. Say what?

And last week Jindal signed a bill that makes dispensing private nude or sexual images without the consent of the person pictured illegal. So, fear not Jennifer Lawerence and other celebrities who might come down to Louisiana. Your film might not get a tax credit thanks to Jindal but you won’t have to worry about anyone in our state trading personal pictures of your hooha.

So despite pretty much ruining our state, I guess Jindal deserves at least a tip of the hat for his decision making recently. But the big props this week goes out to our President. Thanks Obama! And no, we don’t mean that sarcastically. Really, thanks Obama.


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