So I know this is old news at this point, but without power yesterday, I couldn’t write about this when it was new news. But I can’t let the moment pass without commemorating the occasion. As you are likely well aware at this point, yesterday a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, thereby overturning the law that made it illegal in California for people of the same sex to marry one another. I have no doubt that it will be appealed at the Supreme Court level, but this is a major statement, a sign of the times that discrimination based on sexuality may be, if not disappearing, at least gaining some legal ground. In celebration, I present you with a beautiful rainbow cake photo.
Why do I care? I mean, I’m not gay. I am married, happily, to a member of the opposite sex in a state that has voted in a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. I also tend to shy away from political statements and political activism on the grounds that pretty much all politicians, regardless of party, are greedy slimy SOBs who do not really have the interests of the public at heart. But I do find my heart filling with righteous indignation whenever my fellow citizens are denied what I consider to be their basic rights. I get livid hearing about women being paid less than men for the same job when they have the same qualifications. I shake with anger when a story hits the news about an Arab-American enduring racial profiling and open hostility while they quietly try to go about their lives DOING NOTHING deserving of the negative attention they receive. And I’m incredibly pissed off every time I hear someone say that homosexuals should not have the same rights as “everybody else.”
Have you ever actually read the Constitution of the United States? No? It’s not all that long; you really should read it. I’d like to call your attention to Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So you can’t “abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Huh. To me, that indicates by common logic that if you give a privilege – say, the right to get married – to one group of citizens, you can’t deny that privilege to a different group of citizens. If the state is granting a privilege, it must be granted to everyone. That’s pretty basic. It makes a lot of sense. Why is it such a hard concept? It seems to me that every state, mine included, that prohibits gay marriage but allows straight people get married is acting against the U.S. Constitution.
I’m not going to argue today with the people who have a “moral objection” to homosexuality. I can’t argue with those who believe it’s wrong, because “they know it in their hearts.” You can’t argue with that. You can’t change their minds. And I can’t say that churches have to acknowledge gay marriage, because they are privately funded organizations, and they have a right to make their own decisions and policies about matters. For those who believe the word “marriage” should be reserved for straight couples but have no problem with homosexuals having a “civil union,” I say PLEASE. Give me a break. That’s semantics. If you want the government to call all such partnerships “civil unions” and let “marriage” be a church-only word, fine. I have no objections, but good luck with getting people to go along with it. Most importantly, though, I find it hard to deny that our publicly funded, publicly elected government is acting illegally when they deny homosexual citizens the same rights and privileges they’ve granted to heterosexual citizens.
To that end, a big CHEERS to Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court. Hugs and high-fives to my gay friends, in California and out. And prayers that this really is a step on the path to end descrimination. This week, at least, let’s all eat some celebratory rainbow cake.