Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Small, Decent Tremor in California

The Supreme Court of California has upheld the right of people to marry without regard to sexual orientation. A key passage from the ruling via Andrew Sullivan:

In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.
Superb! The court was challenged to find a constitutional basis for treating gays and lesbians as second-class citizens -- something in the law, something beyond bigoted casuistries -- and correctly observed the absence of such warrant.

Naturally, the anti-gay camp is already planning a ballot measure for November to reverse this ruling and shove gays and lesbians back into the closet. I hope it fails. I hope this emerges as a moment when both the courts and the people can step out of the anti-gay rut and see marriage equality as a simple but significant victory for human rights -- and at the same time to realize how small a change this truly is: there is no threat here, only an increase in decency and justice.



Aimee Brons said...

Awww...I'm happy for Shelly and Ellen. Is it weird that a picture of older woman kissing makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy? Way to go Cali!

Laura said...

One day people are going to look back on history and wonder what all the pandemonium about homosexuality was about, or sexuality in general for that matter. Why it bothers people is beyond me.

Dale said...

Laura - Indeed so. I've thought so for a long time. I also believe people will magically rework their own political and ideological pasts to erase all traces of homophobia, and declare they were always on the humane side of the question. There will be outliers who take it to the grave, of course, and plenty more who profess one thing aloud and yet cling to another inwardly.

And don't raise your hopes too high about how quickly this process will unfold in West Virginia, if you get my meaning.

Aimee - I'm happy for them too! I'm happy for a lot of people I know.