Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Proposition 8 struck down

"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday the 9th circuit court struck down "Proposition 8," which is California's after-the-fact ban on gay marriages. Because the ban was enacted after marriage had already been granted, the court was clear that this decision was limited to California. Even so, this is a victory for the rights of same-gender couples.

This issue is far from settled. The Prop 8 legal wrangling will now make its way to the US Supreme Court, which will weigh-in on same-gender marriage. Legal scholars and pundits will debate what this means for the political scene in America. Those who support equal rights for same-gender couples will triumph this as a victory, and those who oppose those rights will use this as pabulum for their cause. Of course that second thing worries me--as we enter another election year, politicians will likely continue to use the civil rights of an American minority as a leverage tool for political gain. I expect that we will see more animated anti-LGBT rhetoric, with all the damaging effects that has on the queer population in this country.

But this decision is a victory for equal rights. And I am excited and encouraged by one particular statement in the court's opinion:
Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.
And that is important--the court recognizes that denying rights to same-gender couples lessens those couples, relegating them to the status of second-hand citizens. I think it is always a cause for celebration when the truth comes out.

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