Proposition h8rs

                Today a federal judge ruled California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional.  That’s big news.  Celebrations rang out from coast to coast, by which I mean in both California and New York.  I’m not quite sure why New Yorkers would be so excited, unless they hope this ruling sets a precedent that the federal government may follow (hint: it won’t).

                I know this will probably be tough for many of you to hear and I only ask that you hear me out until the end before you jump down my throat.  The bottom line is: the fight isn’t over.  This ruling was handed down by a U.S. District Court.  That may sound pretty darn final but the truth is that there are still a number of appeals that the State can file, and at least two more courts in which to plead their case.  If there is anyone out there who doubts this is a Supreme Court-worthy case, I challenge you to convince us.

Next, expect the case to be presented to a Federal Appeals Court, which could take months.  In the meantime, the law may be temporarily shelved, but not actually expunged.  At the same time, provisions of the law will not be halted; that is to say don’t expect a sudden flood of gay marriages, they’re still technically illegal while the case is appealed.  Then this will almost certainly reach the Supreme Court, which will face the daunting task of determining whether or not the Constitution actually protects the rights of gays and lesbians, at least as relates to their legal right to marry.

And unfortunately that’s the sticky wicket here.  Plaintiff Kris Perry says that today the Court defended her Constitutional right.  I don’t claim to be any kind of Constitutional scholar or anything, but I cannot find anywhere in the U.S. Constitution any kind of protection offered to gay or lesbian couples’ right to marry.  I actually don’t see much of anything regarding the rights of anyone to marry.  I assume Ms. Perry is referring to her rights under the California Constitution, as most rights of marriage are governed solely by the states.

But wait a minute, didn’t the voters of California vote en masse to add a Proposition to their own Constitution that outlawed same-sex marriage?  Yes, and sorry for the sarcastic tone there.  Ms. Perry is asserting that her right to be married to another woman trumps the right of the people as a whole to decide what laws they would like to live by.  Believe me when I tell you that I fully support the rights of the individual, but I also support the rights of the governed to determine their course.  This whole mess started when a court decided that gay marriage would be legal in California, then there were protests and oppositions.  Then the issue was put to the voters to decide.  There were protests and oppositions.  The measure passed and the marriages were legally barred.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is the way the democratic process works.

So why didn’t the plaintiffs start a petition campaign to get a repeal proposition on November’s ballot?  They could certainly have counted on the support of all those in the state who oppose Proposition 8.  One of the main reasons Prop 8 passed in the first place, in my opinion was the massive voter turnout in 2008 to support Barack Obama.  He was able to heavily mobilize African-American and Hispanic voters like never before.  Unfortunately those groups are also well known opponents of gay and lesbian rights.  Call it cultural, call it social, call it whatever, but it’s a fact.

However, with no Barack Obama on the ballot, it is not unreasonable to believe that those voters would be less inclined to come out to vote against any possible recall proposition.  Of course I can’t say much about what seems to be an anti-Democrat backlash in general across the country and the possible resulting increase in Republican voters.  I don’t know, nor do I claim to know what the voting landscape is like in California today, so these hypotheticals I’ve put forth are just that, hypothetical.  What I do know for sure, though, is that the proper way to get Proposition 8 completely undone is by vote. 

So why isn’t it happening?  Can gay marriage not be the next hot-button issue in a land of hot-button issues?  Where are your celebrity endorsers putting a famous face to an otherwise faceless issue?  Is Ellen busy?  Melissa Ethridge?  Hell, someone call Sulu already.  Just get anyone famous who can help the average, heterosexual person realize that gay and lesbian couples are not going away and should be afforded the same rights as everyone else.  Get out and convince the populace that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is ridiculous. 

But convince them you must, because if there is one thing that Americans don’t like its having their vote thrown out by what they see as an activist judge on behalf of a minority group making a big stink over an issue.  I assure you that a bigger fight awaits you if a repeal of Prop.8 is thrust upon the very same majority population who voted to pass the thing in the first place.  A voter-supported repeal of Prop.8 would be hugely influential among other states, of which many have already passed constitutional amendments banning the very same gay marriages. 

Here’s the bottom line folks: vote.  It really is that simple.  If you oppose Prop.8 find a way to vote it out of existence.  Vote for Congressmen and Senators who will help pass laws that support gay rights.  Vote for future Propositions that support furtherance of gay rights in your city, your state, and your country.  Don’t sue the state to get your way, that will only breed further resentment and opposition to your cause.  Among our most cherished rights as Americans is our right to choose what we feel is best for ourselves and our country.  And when the people make a serious effort to choose a radical path such as equal marriage rights for all, it can happen.

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1 Comment

  1. http://www.america.gov/st/democracyhr-english/2008/May/20080609194934eaifas0.5346796.html

    “Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.”

    It shouldn’t have been on the ballot in the first place. And it was actually voted on before, won, and the court threw it out that first time. And while there isn’t anything in the constitution about marriage, there is this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. The only reason they have for trying to establish one man one woman is religion. That’s why their defense was so weak. The church of latter day saints was even fined for funding Yes on 8! They’re the first church to ever be fined for political malfeasance!

    I know what you’re trying to say, don’t get your hopes up yet it isn’t over. This will definitely go to the supreme court then maybe someday there won’t be anymore “separate but equal”.


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