Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Death of Equality

The California Supreme Court announced its decision about Proposition 8 this morning. The decision was not what so many had hoped. Prop. 8 has been upheld, but the 18,000 marriages performed already stand.

Comments were instantaneous on Facebook and Twitter:

-- Disappointed in the Supreme Court Decision.

-- deeply disappointed in the CA supreme court, and glad to be going home where people don't vote to take away my rights [this woman is about to move back to Canada]

-- Marriage is between a man and a woman...except for 18,000 of them. [this from Ned]

-- Yay! The CA Supreme Court held up Prop 8! Thank god gays won't get divorced at the same rate as the rest of the population!

-- I'm so ashamed to be from a state that has now officially legalized discrimination. I feel like I've been forcefully thrown five steps backwards from being an equal citizen.

-- annoyed that the slippery slope doesn't seem to slip beyond heterosexuals. At this rate, I'm never going to be able to legally marry my cousins and their dogs.

-- California annually caps the number of marriage licenses. Every gay marriage prevents a straight one.

-- this is an extremely sad day for our country, California, civil rights, and...I could go on and on.

-- ashamed of my state. SHAME ON YOU!

-- The one comforting thing about the outcome is the collective outrage of good-thinking people.

-- California, as a lifelong native, I am disappointed in you. At least my BIL's marriage stands. but anti-marriage? really?

-- California, you totally let Iowa out-awesome you. Just sayin'

-- Defend traditional marriage? Why not ban interracial marriages? Why not declare women as property? Why not re-enslave blacks?

-- I want to curl up and hide until the U.S. lives up to its promise to treat all people equally.

-- Separation of Church and State? Not in California.

-- So, let's see. What other basic rights can we in CA vote people out of? It only takes 51% to take away the right of women to vote, or blacks to ride anywhere in the bus, or 51% to say we should start up the internment camps again. Heck, 51% of Californians could make it illegal to practice Christianity or Islam or Mormonism. Or for people over 6' tall to drive. Of course, it takes a 2/3 vote to raise taxes...

-- I won't be a second-class citizen forever. Even the California Supreme Court can't steal my hope for this country

-- Odd... My marriage doesn't feel any stronger this afternoon than it did this morning.

-- California, I love you so much, and yet you keep disappointing me.

-- Oh, California, you make me sad. You are going to become the Texas of the West if you're not careful. Except, you know, with crappy BBQ.

-- Sigh. Supremely disappointed in the injustice of the CA Supreme Court decision this morning.

-- You know what destroys marriage? DIVORCE. We're gonna outlaw that next, right?

-- Hey 2nd-class CA citizens: Come to MA & bring your higher income brackets, education & high-tech skills with ya!

-- Most of us who got the chance to marry in California find little solace in today's Prop 8 decision. The fight is not over.

-- My new favorite protest sign: "Jesus had two dads. Why can't I?"

It is, I guess, important to understand that the previous decision by the court was that depriving gay couples from marriage was unconstitutional, and this decision was whether or not the voters had the right to change the consitution by a simple majority vote (tho it takes a 2/3 majority to raise taxes, as noted above). They were deciding whether the majority had the right to make decisions concerning the life of the minority. And the justices, 6-1, decided that they did. So if the majority was to decide that interracial marriage is not a good thing, that would stand too and people of different races would no longer be permitted to marry.

The one good thing is that they did not invalidate the ~18,000 marriages which have already taken place. This now sets up two classes of gay people in California, those who are legally married and those who can never legally marry. This at a time when other states are starting to recognize the right of gay people to marry the partner they love. It's hard to imagine that this is "constitutional" anywhere!

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since November 18, 2003; in Connecticut since October 10, 2008; and in Iowa since April 27, 2009. It will become legal in Vermont starting September 1, 2009 and in Maine starting September 14, 2009.

California is obviously no longer the most progressive state in the union.

I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court today, but the fight is not over and it's time to go back to the initiative process and keep the eye set on 2010 for a proposition to overturn Prop 8. I think that a lot of people had their eyes opened about what Prop 8 really meant and one can only hope that if the subject is brought up yet again, the people of California will finally do the right thing. At least if a proposition permitting same sex marriage in California passes, the other side won't have anywhere to protest, because the court has already ruled that the people have the right to make that decision.

1 comment:

Mary Z said...

Here's the link to the editorial cartoon in our paper this morning.