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Carlos McKnight, from Washington, D.C., waves a rainbow colored flag outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 26, 2015. The high court will decide by the end of the month whether the Constitution gives gays the right to marry. The court's actions until now have suggested that a majority of the nine justices will vote to legalize same-sex weddings nationwide. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Carlos McKnight
Carlos McKnight, from Washington, D.C., waves a rainbow colored flag outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 26, 2015. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg) Andrew Harrer—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

Why June 26 Should Be a National Holiday to Honor Progress

Jun 26, 2015
Ideas
Charlotte Alter covers politics and society for TIME in New York City.

When several historic events happen on the exact same day, it's a sign: June 26 should be a national holiday.

On Friday the Supreme Court ruled that gay Americans had the right to marry in every state in the country. On the exact same date two years ago, the same court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing same-sex couples to access federal benefits. And when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex sexual activity should be legal in every state in the Lawrence vs Texas ruling in 2003, it did so on ... June 26. It's a coincidence, but also much more than that.

Because June 26 isn't just an important date for gay Americans-- it's a date that symbolizes how rapidly change can happen in America, how quickly our attitudes can evolve, and how, when used correctly, our system is one that propels us all towards a more equal state.

In other words, June 26 is a date that represents what happens when America works the way it's supposed to work. Only 11 years ago, in 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay couples to marry. In a little over a decade, gay marriage has gone from a provocative pipe dream to a legal and constitutional right. In that time, the battle has been fought in the legislatures, in the courts, and in the American national conscience.

In 2004, then-Senate candidate Barack Obama said he believed marriage was "between a man and a woman." In 2010, he said his views on same-sex marriage were "evolving." This morning in 2015, the White House Twitter avatar turned rainbow-colored, in celebration of the Supreme Court's decision.

See Scenes of Celebration After Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling

Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
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Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 26, 2015.Jacquelyn Martin—AP
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage
John Becker, Paul Guequierre
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Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Sasha Altschuler
Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 26, 2015.
Jacquelyn Martin—AP
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June 26 isn't just a symbol of marriage equality or gay rights-- it's a day that commemorates a collective change of mind, the American ability to choose freedom and equality.

But wait! Isn't June 26 a little too close to July 4? If we had two national holidays within the course of a week, wouldn't the U.S. economy come grinding to a halt and the world implode?

Not necessarily. Just think about how glorious it would be to have two national holidays just over a week apart. It would be the perfect timing for a summer vacation, one that all Americans could enjoy with their families. Maybe they'd celebrate by taking trip to an American beach town, staying in an American hotel, eating at American restaurants. Maybe they'd fly somewhere on an American airline or grill some American burgers. Studies have shown that vacations are good for the economy, and that if everyone took their allotted vacation time, it would support 1.2 million jobs and create $21 billion in tax revenue.

June 26 and July 4 could be sister holidays-- both celebrations of freedom, equality, and the promise of America.


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