On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court made same sex marriage the law of the land, following a spate of lower court rulings trending in the same direction for the prior three years. To that point, 36 US states had sanctioned marriage equality, mostly via judicial review and the overturning of bans on such unions passed by state legislatures. The Supreme Court had been content to let the process play out, but a contradictory ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2014, affirming a state’s right to discriminate and bucking the trend toward equality, made it inevitable a case would be heard.
That case was Obergefell v Hodges, decided in favor of the plaintiffs by a 5-4 majority, voting along party lines, with swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with the Court’s liberal bloc. The decision, and the public opinion polling which supports it, represents one of the most dramatic and sweeping sea changes in American public policy in the country’s history. Just 11 years before the ruling, the boogeyman of gay marriage was so entrenched in the public consciousness that ballot initiatives banning it in swing states in 2004 increased conservative voter turnout to the extent that these can be credited with giving George W. Bush his second term in office.
Just 15 years before this SCOTUS ruling, The Netherlands became the first modern country to approve same sex marriage, followed by 20 more countries, three quarters of these since 2008, before the US legalized the practice. What accounts for this phenomenal global change?
In part, on its most basic level, this can be attributed to the passage of Pluto in Capricorn, and the subsequent waxing square between Pluto and Uranus. Beginning in late 2008, Pluto turned its highly scrutinized attention to all Capricornian areas of influence, among them societal structures of all types, including marriage. Pluto scours whatever it touches, impelling growth and change and discarding outmoded or antiquated systems in favor of those better suited to Pluto’s purpose, which is empowerment.
Capricorn is a rigid sign, disliking change and innovation, but Pluto’s message is “evolve or die”, and once the pressure from Uranus in Aries began to build with their first exact square in 2012, emphasizing the equal rights (Uranus) of individuals (Aries), the floodgates of change were opened. Five countries adopted marriage equality from 2008-2011, in the early stages of Pluto’s sojourn in Capricorn, with a dozen more following suit after 2012 and the ramp-up of energies from the Uranus square. That progression was mirrored in the US, with Vermont being the first state to recognize gay unions in 2000, the same year as The Netherlands, joined by just four more states through 2007, and the remainder in the ensuing years after.
Each country has its own story to tell, its own individual road map to the same destination. For the US, additional pressures to comply were supplied by a unique pairing of asteroids which dominated the debate by their peculiar aptness to the situation and the country’s birth chart.
These “strange celestial bedfellows” were Hera, named for the Roman goddess of marriage, and Sappho, a sort of cosmic code-word for “gay”, named for the ancient Greek poet and lesbian, Sappho of Lesbos, from whose island of origin we derive our word “lesbian”. These two traveled within orb of conjunction for two years, from 2012 to 2014, a period coinciding with major advances in the cause of marriage equality in the US (and its legalization in eight other countries as well), which can trace its roots to a court case in 1971. The issue of Gay (Sappho) Marriage (Hera) came to the front burner of the social justice movement, highlighted by two Supreme Court rulings in 2013, one of which struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, legislation preventing legally married same sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits; and the other overturning California’s Proposition 8 law, a public referendum vote banning same sex unions in that state.
Sappho and Hera first came within a five-degree orb of conjunction to each other on May 7, 2012, at 7 and 12 Cancer respectively. These degrees are significant, for they straddle the US stellium comprised of Venus, Jupiter and the Sun, at 3, 5 and 13 Cancer, making the case for an expansion (Jupiter) of marriage partnerships (Venus) in the US (Sun). Also involved is the US Hera at 2 Cancer, and with transit Hera fresh from its return to this natal degree, the implication is of a new chapter or cycle about to emerge. Just two days later, on May 9, sitting US President Barack Obama expressed his personal and political support for marriage equality, a watershed moment in the movement. That September, the Democratic Party added marriage equality to its official platform at its nominating convention, with Hera and Sappho now just a degree apart.
When the 2013 decisions were handed down on June 23 (exactly two years to the day prior to the current ruling), Hera and Sappho were conjunct at 28 and 29 Virgo, and with asteroid Justitia (named for the Roman goddess of justice) at 5 Libra were squared the transit Sun at 5 Cancer, itself exactly atop the USA’s natal Jupiter, ruling the Supreme Court, while highlighting its natal Hera/Venus conjunction.
The current ruling, given at 10:01 AM EDT on June 26, 2015, shows many of the same players active, though Sappho and Hera have long since moved out of conjunction. An evocative combination of Venus, Jupiter and Juno, Roman goddess of marriage, at 18, 20 and 28 Leo respectively, straddles the 26 Leo Ascendant, marking the moment as one focused on love and partnership (Venus), as well as the expansion (Jupiter) of the definition of marriage (Juno).
Sappho is out of the mainstream mix of active points now, but at 25 Gemini it is sextile this grouping, and trine the 28 Libra Moon of the moment, indicating public (Moon) support (trine) for the LGBT community (Sappho). Her close opposition to the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius also indicates a global audience for the decision.
Speaking of decisions, the process of decision-making is Mercury-ruled, and there is a very telling T-Square involving the planet of argument and deliberation. At 12 Gemini, Mercury is conjoined by asteroid Justitia at 8 Gemini, and also Astraea at 12 Gemini, named for another justice-related Greek deity. Collectively these oppose asteroid Themis at 17 Sagittarius, named for the primary Greek goddess of justice.
Also in this mix is asteroid Hodge, conjunct Mercury from 10 Gemini, and asteroid Hodgson, conjunct Themis from 18 Sagittarius, both these representing “Hodges”, the defendant in the case. The T-Square incorporates Neptune at 9 Pisces, ruling empathy and inclusion, and also shows a stunning pairing of asteroids Antonia and Kennedy at 11 and 12 Pisces, identifying Justice Anthony Kennedy as the all-important swing vote which won the case for the plaintiff. Note Kennedy’s exactly square to Mercury, reflective also of the fact that he wrote (Mercury) the majority opinion.
Hera is still a major player, and at 6 Taurus she exactly opposes asteroid Ganymed at 6 Scorpio, another major indicator of gay themes (named for Zeus’ underage cupbearer and boy toy lover), here playing proxy for Sappho. Ganymed has also recently returned to its natal degree of 1 Scorpio in the USA chart, reinforcing its supportive natal trine to the US Hera. The transit Sun at 4 Cancer once again conjoins both the USA natal Venus and Jupiter, where Hera and Sappho first came within orb of conjunction and began this pell-mell ride to marriage equality. Transit Mars at 1 Cancer lends its forceful championing of the cause, closely conjunct the natal US Hera at 2 Cancer. Also here is Eros at 5 Cancer, another indicator of LGBT issues (named for a deity noted for his patronage of homosexual unions in ancient Greece), and all these points trine transit Ganymed, sextile transit Hera.
To celebrate the decision, the White House was illumined in rainbow colors, emblem of the gay rights movement, the evening after the ruling was announced. Another pivotal moment in the ongoing struggle for equality for all citizens, regardless of gender, race, creed or sexual orientation, and one portrayed in vivid celestial detail, as always.