Friday, August 6, 2010

Proposition 8, unconstitutional

Normally, my blogs are about photography, art and censorship. I have sometimes touched on reality TV and other issues I just find ludicrous.  But after the events of this past Wednesday I feel I need to write about something a bit more substantial.
Now as a married, heterosexual male, you might not automatically think I have any interest in the subject of gay marriage. But for many years I have been a staunch supporter. Having many gay friends, who have been in relationships a lot longer than my three marriages combined, I see what true love in the face of a discriminating country can due..

On Wednesday, August 4th, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled  that the California's Proposition 8 ballot initiative denying marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.  Judge Walker said, it is "unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses."

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger applauded the ruling, saying it "affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves."

First off, what I find interesting is that the Governor is Republican, albeit a moderate Republican and that Judge Walker was a Republican appointee.

This 136 page ruling was crafted very very carefully. The judge knows that it will be appealed and the appeal will probably go all the way up to the Supreme Court. He made quite a few statements in his closing directed to Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Kennedy has been the swing vote on a number of cases brought before the court which is very divided. it will be very interesting to see how the court handles this case.

In speaking about the case brought before him, Judge Walker stated that the defense, in favor of the ban, brought only one expert witness in front of the Court and that this witness was no expert at all. He stated their case was weak and the reason that California voters narrowly voted for Prop 8 was out of fear and ignorance.

Previous court decisions have established that the ability to marry is a fundamental right that cannot be denied to people without a compelling rationale, Walker said. Proposition 8 violated that right and discriminated on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation in violation of the equal protection clause.

But of course, there are the ultra conservatives, the Rush Limbaughs of this country, who see this as nothing more as a pawn to destroy the American Constitution. Limbaugh said, " gay political activists... are being used by the overall leadership of the American left." he continued to say that," the left uses issues such as gay marriage as battering rams to wreck the US Constitution."

Did he NOT read the part about equal protections and due process?

The chairman of the National Organization of Marriage, (didn't know there was such a thing) stated:
Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution.
Personally I think the founding fathers would be shocked by the internet or women wearing pants!

Then of course we have Newt Gingrich who said:
Today's notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.
So now, becasue Judge Walker is trying to protect all American's right to due process and equality he and any other liberal judge is a threat to our society. Hey Newt, remember, all American's not just your favorites.

And then we have the general, scared,  America public who have made comments like, "I'm very upset. I feel like I don't live in America."
Well maybe that is a good thing. Most other countries feel we are backwards in our thinking about sexuality and marriage anyway.

Oh, and the Pope weighed in too. The Pope stated: Gay Marriage is one of ‘the Most Insidious and Dangerous Threats to the Common Good Today’

Hey Bennie, did you forget the hundreds or maybe thousands of children molested by Catholic priests over the years? Maybe THAT is a dangerous threat to the common good?

Another thing written by Judge Walker in his ruling was, "The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage." I have to agree, the days of the man being the hunter and the obedient wife staying home to raise the kids has been over for a long time. It is just now that the courts are catching up with what is already taking shape in this nation

Equal treatment and government benefits for gay and lesbian couples should not be based on whether couples is a "traditional" male/female couple. The Proposition 8 ruling is a victory for family diversity of all types of orientations, not just gay.

This battle is far from over and will make the news until it finally gets decided on my the Supreme Court.
I for one hope that this tide of unity and equality continues through the country and that it rolls into the Supreme Court and comes out victorious.

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