Friday, May 16, 2008

California Supreme Court issues historic ruling on same-sex marriage

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Fantastic news from California. Here's the L.A. Times (see also the S.F. Chronicle):

The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday in a broadly worded decision that would invalidate virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

The 4-3 ruling declared that the state Constitution protects a fundamental "right to marry" that extends equally to same-sex couples. It tossed a highly emotional issue into the election year while opening the way for tens of thousands of gay people to wed in California, starting as early as mid-June.

I have long been a proponent of the legalization of same-sex marriage and have celebrated recent moves here in Canada and elsewhere to that end. And now, in California, the people, the state's highest court, and even the governor are on board.

There is still much to be done in the U.S., of course -- and the bigoted opposition, much of it on the christianist right, is both organized and powerful -- but there is no doubt that this decision is a major victory for the forces of justice.

Make sure to read Glenn Greenwald on this: "Critically, the Court emphasized at the outset that its ruling had nothing to do with the political views of the judges with regard to gay marriage, but rather, was based solely on its legal analysis of past precedent interpreting the relevant provisions of the state Constitution." Glenn anticipates opposition to the ruling, and refutes it soundly.

And Andrew Sullivan: "[O]n the deeper question, the court is unequivocal in arguing that our modern understanding of sexual orientation -- that it is an orientation, not a choice, an identity and not an act -- makes the equal protection of gay families a core value."

And Melissa McEwan: "[B]ecause California already offers domestic partnership which afford same-sex couples the same legal rights as opposite-sex married couples, it doesn't leave opponents of this decision much wiggle-room: If domestic partnerships already guaranteeing the same legal rights are not good enough, there's not a hell of a lot of space to provide yet another alternative to fully. equal. marriage."

And Digby: "It's fitting that in an election year where we are dealing head on with all these issues of race and sex that we're going to have a showdown on gay marriage in the most populous state in the union. The chances have never been greater to defeat the forces of bigotry and discrimination. It's a risk, but there will probably never be a better time to take it. Bring it on."

(Find more reaction at Memeorandum.)

And just to be clear, Obama supports the ruling, as does Hillary, and McCain doesn't. (Although I wish Obama were a supporter of marriage and not just equal civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Like Pam and Melissa, I think they're wrong to fall back on states' rights and "marriage equality." Couldn't they -- shouldn't they -- be more excited about this historic ruling?) Ben Smith has their statements here.

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  • Yup, if someone opposes, they are automatically bigoted. Just a clever way for you to shut off debate.

    Back in the 70's, as a kid, I remember asking my parents could men marry men; women marry women, etc. It was simply laughed off as being comically ludicrous. It still is, but then again, fiction has become reality. I don't really give a rat's ass what gays do, as long as they don't do it infront of me; that goes for heterosexual couples, too. And I would add that homosexuality is "natural" -- indeed, like many strange phenomena, it's an abberation WITHIN nature. No matter what, it's the one "minority" that will ALWAYS be made fun of. God (or Darwin) just didn't design the penis to fit properly in the rectum.

    By Blogger QueersOnTheRise, at 9:24 AM  

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