Aug 8, 2010

[Pinks News] Where We Stand In The Proposition 8 Legal Battle

Gay is the New Black - NYC Proposition 8 prote...Image by david_shankbone via Flickr
On August 4, 2010, US District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that California's Proposition 8 ballot measure that had been passed in November was unconstitutional. For the completely ignorant in terms of the gay rights battles around the world, Proposition 8 was a highly controversial ballot proposition and amendment to the state constitution that required that marriage could only be recognized as being between a man and a woman. The ballot measure was put into action to defeat a prior court ruling that had allowed same-sex marriages to happen for a few months back in 2008.

The legal challenges to the measure initially seemed too risky to venture into right away but there were those determined few that felt it had to happen. And thus after quite a lengthy legal struggle, we finally reached this point with the recent court ruling acting as the culmination of a lot of hard work.

But just because gay rights activists have reached this point doesn't mean the battle is over. In fact, the next phase is already beginning with supporters of Proposition 8 already filing their appeals and preparing to take this legal argument all the way to the Supreme Court. Then the finally ruling may come along and we'll see how things truly pan out.

Flickr: Dave Shumaker - Gay Marriage in San FranciscoI always feel appalled at how people against gay marriage and other similar rights argue that allowing us to marry would somehow ruin the sanctity of a marriage. How exactly is that supposed to happen? Will seeing gay men and women living happily married lives together somehow make straight people not want to get married anymore? Will divorce rates spike because straight couples now feel marriage is no longer as special as it used to be? What gives you horrible, hating bigots?

And I think the worst aspect to it all is when they claim that they have nothing against our rights to be homosexual - they're just against us having sex, us having the same legal rights and protections and pretty much just being equal in stature to them. So how is that supposed to be right? Why do they think that their god (who is clearly not mine) is still obsessed about the evils of sodomy when he seems to have relaxed his similar pronouncements against the eating of pork or work on the Sabbath? This pick-and-choose philosophy when it comes to what scripture passages to quote and what to ignore is just part of the narrow-minded views that drive discrimination and hatred all in the name of fundamentalist prattle.

Flickr: deepchi1 - gay marriageIt gets even more insulting when they argue that other alternative forms of marriage should suffice. Who needs marriages when we can have domestic unions and partnerships, right? It's sort of the same but it isn't, we all know that. You see, we're not hell-bent on forcing churches to recognize our marriages from their perspective. The greater clamor here is for legal equality and protections that regular married couples now enjoy. Yes, it sounds horrible but I'm definitely one of those people who are in this fight for the tax breaks, the insurance options and all that good stuff. I'm not in it to get a nice little Church wedding or something like that - why should I go crawling back to a religion that has made it very clear that they don't want me nor do they respect my right to live my life as I choose. Heck, even the realms of science fiction support the case for gay marriage and a broader view of human rights, of person rights.

What was brilliant about Justice Walker's 138-page ruling is the fact that he did his best to cement his analysis of the evidence on more factual arguments. It wans't so much about the soft and fuzzy reasons that gay men and women would be happier if we had the same rights and blah blah blah. Instead he focused on the evidence that both sides raised and accepted the arguments related to the equal rights and due process clauses of the state constitution. It also didn't help their cause that the Proposition 8 side of the fence barely offered relevant witnesses to push for their side.

But now it's a whole new phase in the battle and you can imagine that they won't repeat the same mistakes. They have to fight this tooth and nail in the appeals court and more than likely later on in the Supreme Court since every new level will take it as a new case. It means that as beautiful as Justice Walker's ruling is, it won't matter as much from a technical standpoint since the Supreme Court will look at it with fresh eyes.

And this is just one state. What about the Federal Government's stance on this? Obama has repeatedly stated that he's in support of gay equality in the eyes of the law but hasn't been as supportive of gay marriage in itself, which makes very little sense to me. As this course makes it way up the ladder, more and more attention will be drawn to this very important issue and sooner or later he'll need to get off the fence and take a clear stand for or against it. And what about the rest of the world? When will other nations start to see the light and accept that we're still human and we deserve protection in the eyes of the laws of all governments.

Flickr: - Gay_marriage_button_L

I want to be able to marry the man that I love and have that marriage recognized in any country I happen to find myself in. I've laid out the arguments and reasoning behind this in the past and I probably will write about it further in the months to come. But today's entry is just me adding another voice to the many who are crying out for equal rights and the support of our lawmakers. Let this struggle in California act as a wake-up call to the rest of us that this is a valid issue that needs to be discussed and brought to the appropriate channels.

This is not something that the majority can vote on in a referendum since the rights of a minority group will always be quashed that way. If we always let the majority determine how the smaller minorities should live, then women would still not be able to vote, African Americans would still be slaves and a heck of a lot of other things that we now accept to be wrong. But change is never easy, I know that. And we need to keep fighting.

I join the fight with my words, whether on this blog or in a letter to my congressman or whatever other relevant forum. It's not much but it's a start. And we're definitely not going to give up until we're allowed the right to marry and all other rights that we deserve come to pass.

And that's just about what I wanted to say right now.

And a big Fuck You to Proposition 8.

Flickr photos from Dave Shumaker, deepchi1 and respectively.
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