Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No surprise. Equality is still a dream.

The California State Supreme Court came out with its long-awaited ruling on the validity of Prop. 8, which bans same-sex marriages in California. The court upheld Prop. 8, which is no surprise since the argument before the court was a technical issue about whether the proposition legally amended the state constitution.

Technical issues aside, today is just a reminder of how much work still needs to be done. Despite the recent success of gay marriages in the courts and legislatures in other states — mostly on the East Coast — in the nation’s most populous state it remains a fractious dividing point.

Interestingly, the court allowed 18,000 same-sex couples who married before the adoption of Prop. 8 to remain married since they did so with the full blessing of the laws at the time. So these couples, who I’ll call the “test marriages,” will now have rights that others just like them won’t. This creates a dichotomy in the state that is so surreal.

But I hope that these 18,000 couples and their marriages will show the hateful, ignorant supporters of Prop. 8 to realize that having gay marriages will not lessen their marriages or somehow weaken them. Hopefully they’ll see that they can co-exist with loving same-sex couples who just want to live happily ever after like them.

So what now? The work to bring marriage equality continues with more education and a lot more protests. I’m sure they’ll be events this afternoon, but the major event will be on Saturday with a “Meet in the Middle,” where people will march and gather in Fresno in Central California. This isn’t just the center of the state, but it also represents an area that needs a lot of educating about marriage equality. (Not necessarily the city of Fresno but more the Central Valley in general.)

The Courage Campaign is also trying to put TV ads that encourage the message of non-discrimination. The ad, called “Fidelity,” is pretty powerful and positive. Here it is below...

Learn more about the campaign to get 1 million signatures to join the repeal of Prop. 8 by going to the group's site here.

Needless to say, you can expect another brutal ballot initiative, possibly in 2010. While I wished it could be the courts who make the final decision, it looks like because of California’s horrendous proposition system, we will have to rely on the will of the people. And God willing, they will be more compassionate the next time they rule on another’s rights.

Links to today’s coverage:
Prop. 8 Upheld by State Supreme Court, LA Times
Court upholds Prop. 8 but lets marriages stand, SF Chronicle
California Supreme court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, New York Times

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