Today, California’s Proposition 8 was overturned in a ruling by Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker. The National Organization for Marriage quickly issued a press release:
“Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial,” said Brian Brown, President of NOM. “With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman….”
Their desire for appeal is understandable, considering the clear bias of Walker, who is, of course openly gay. (And who was originally nominated by Ronald Reagan, failed to be confirmed because of liberal opposition to his “insensitivity” towards homosexuals, was again nominated by George H.W. Bush, and was unanimously approved by a Republican-majority Senate).
This outrageous demonstration of the separation of powers has sent shockwaves throughout the nation, raising deeper questions about the fundamentals of American government, such as: “Have any of you people ever read a high school Civics textbook?” Understandably, the defendants in the case were quick to express their outrage:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.”
California Attorney General Jerry Brown: “In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.”
Supporters of Proposition 8 — who are not homophobic, just deeply committed to states’ rights and the freedom of religion, no honest — lament this as yet another example of the long, unsettling history of judicial activism in the United States. Loving v. Virginia, Brown v. Board of Education, where does it all end? The very concept of activist judges legislating from the bench is the antithesis of the ideals our country was founded on.
Brian Raum of the “Alliance Defense Fund” — again, not persecuting gays but defending the democratic process — paints a nightmare scenario:
“The majority of California voters simply wished to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The other side’s attack upon their good will and motives is lamentable and preposterous,” Mr. Raum said. “Imagine what would happen if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists who malign the intent of the people. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”
Imagine what would happen if every citizen’s rights could be eliminated by large groups of wealthy religious activists from out of state who introduce new discrimination into a state’s constitution under the hypocritical guise of “defending” an institution. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of bigots.
After all, seven million people voted in favor of Proposition 8. Are we going to say that the opinions of seven million people are less valid than the opinion of one man? (Well, one man and the 6.4 million men and women who voted against the proposition?)
As Fox News responsibly asks: “I’m not sure but shouldn’t voters views count for something?” The ballot didn’t even include an “I’m not sure” option; it reduced it to a simple “for” or “against”. (Well, a simple “for a ban against the right of same-sex couples to marry” or “against the ban for the right of same-sex couples to not marry.”) If we can’t trust the right of disinterested strangers to make uneducated decisions about the rights of others, then where would we be? Advancing the issue to an appointed third party who makes decisions based on nothing more than years of legal training, familiarity with constitutional law, the merit of the prosecution and defense’s cases, weeks of deliberation, and a public ruling subject to appeal? In America?
Meanwhile, thousands of gay men and women were unavailable for comment at press time, as they are waiting for the judicial process to continue through a lengthy series of appeals and continued deliberation while watching thousands of their friends and relatives in real relationships have their marriages acknowledged without resistance. Or were spending years if not decades praying to be “cured,” waking up every day filled with self-loathing and a desperate wish to no longer be different from everyone else, lying in bed staring at the ceiling contemplating the likelihood of dying alone and wondering if suicide would be better. Or running for office on an anti-gay-rights platform.
(And incidentally, to the helpful people pointing out that marriages shouldn’t be the responsibility of government in the first place: Feel free to introduce a separate proposition outlawing civil marriage in California, and see how far you get with that. Until then, back the fuck out of the business of the thousands of people who believe in marriage, have spent their whole lives picturing themselves getting married just like their parents and friends did, want to share that marriage with the world, but can’t because they’ve had to spend years hearing assholes trying to convince them that they chose to be perverted or that they were born “broken.”)
3 thoughts on “Cockroaches v. Bright Light (2010)”
Am I the only one who is depressed that a change to the state constitution can get by on a simple majority? If there was ever anything that should require a 2/3 majority to pass, I’d say it should be a constitutional amendment.
No, you’re not the only one; it’s been an issue for as long as Proposition 8 has been around and probably much longer. Unfortunately there are an awful lot of people who don’t understand the difference between a democracy and a representative democracy.
Fantastic piece. Just fantastic.
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