Unconstitutional Proposition

This past week, a federal judge ruled that California’s Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex couples from marrying after they were already legally allowed to, was unconstitutional.  It was glorious news that spread quickly amongst the community.  But our celebrations were still tempered as we know the quest for equality is still a long way off.  We knew that an appeal would be made by the defeated side and that this does have the possibility of going all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

But the verdict, though small in nature and only a ripple in history, has given us positive momentum as it corrects a wrong that was committed by the voters of California.  Since when should it be possible for the will of the majority to be able to take away the rights of a minority?  Where must that line be drawn?

Since 2004, the mindsets of the populace have begun to shift.  No longer do they all necessarily believe all the doom and gloom predictions that they were told.  What has changed all that?  Could it possibly be that many of these people have taken notice of the LGBT community that they interact with on a daily basis….such as neighbors, friends, or coworkers?  That would tend to have the greatest impact on such notions… at least in my mind.  And it is this notification… this personal touch… that can allow an individual to place himself or herself into that of the person they know.  Suddenly, this issue isn’t so black and white.  Now they must return to their own thoughts and opinions and reflect on them.   They might hold their beliefs because of their religion or for various other reasons, but they now see the big gray area that is in between the two sides.  They can now see that they can be religious (or spiritual) and still be for same-sex marriage.  Even though their religion will say they cannot disagree, they are beginning to realize that religion should not be so divisive since God loves us all equally.  But another option that  could also be changing minds is that five states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage… and the foreboding warnings that the opposition warned people of have not happened.

Since the verdict, the Republican mainstream has been fairly silent about the verdict.  Is it because the party is having a change of heart?  Not really.  They see the upcoming November election and they are wisely aware that a bunch of anti-gay marriage rhetoric, though it would turn out their core supporters, would turn off the independents and the Democrats that aren’t happy with the Obama administration.  But maybe, they, too, are aware of how much the mindset has changed since Karl Rove used the divisiveness of same-sex marriage to get George W. Bush elected in 2004.

Though to us that must live with this discrimination in our everyday lives, things are not progressing fast enough.  But when looking through the annals of time, the change over the past decade has been quite rapid.  This kind of shift in the mindset of the population has never happened so quickly.  In an age where information flies about at record speeds, it doesn’t take long for one story to hit everyone.  We are able to mobilize and put our voice to the stories that affect us.  No longer can our opposition drown us out.  Now we, too, can be heard.  And we can strike down all the lies and exaggerations that the opposition spreads.

The court verdict that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional is only but a small pebble that was thrown into a large pond.  But what comes from such a verdict will continue to spread.  And though this verdict will be appealed, the message is already out.  Judge Walker, who presided over the case, raised the bar of the argument we have been making.  Are we, as members of the LGBT community, full citizens of this country or not?  He framed his ruling around two clauses of the 14th Amendment… equal protection under the law (which was used by the Supreme Court in Brown vs. The Board of Education…which struck down separate but equal) and the right to due process (which was used by the Supreme Court in Loving vs. Virginia to strike down interracial marriage).

The stakes have been raised and the future is coming at us.  We are approaching a fork on the road to the future.  The question becomes which path will our society take… one that leads to openness and equality for all the citizens of this country… or one of divisiveness and second-class citizens.  It is time we, as a nation, live up to our founding principal that we are all equal and deserving of the same rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost~

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5 Responses to Unconstitutional Proposition

  1. Tom Goss says:

    Good work James!

  2. I bet you wish george bush was still president now

    • James S. says:

      No, I’m glad George Bush isn’t President. Those 8-years were horrid. I have yet to determine how I feel about the current administration, too. There are the ups and downs of it. I will make my decision on it at the end of the 4-years.

  3. Pingback: In Defense Of… – In Declaration

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