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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 04: Same-sex couple Stuart Gaffney (L) and John Lewis wait to hear the ruling on Prop 8 outside of the Philip Burton Federal building August 4, 2010 in San Francisco, California.US District Judge Vaughn Walker announced his ruling to overturn Prop 8 finding it unconstitutional. The voter approved measure denies same-sex couples the right to marry in the State of California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Perry v. Schwarzenegger, seeking to overturn Proposition 8 in California, was argued last January in federal court.  Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said today that forbidding gays and lesbians to marry violates both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Which your Head Trucker said thirty years ago, but nobody would listen.  It's quite plain and simple if you just read the Constitution.  Once we had a local attorney - good-looking rascal, athletic build and great stache, never did know if he was gay or just open-minded - come sit in on the gay rap group at my college campus to discuss legal issues, and I put that exact question to him - this was back in 1980 - and he agreed that antigay laws do violate the Equal Protection Clause, but of course it would require a Supreme Court ruling to establish that.

Well maybe one of these days.

I wouldn't go out and dance in the streets just yet, fellas.  It's a great, well-reasoned ruling, as was the Marriage Cases ruling by the California Supreme Court a couple of years ago.  But these are just more paving stones in the long road to equality:  today's ruling doesn't change anything.  It's going to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then undoubtedly to the Supreme Court - if the Supremes deign to hear the case.  Which they don't have to, on this or any other case; that's just how it works.

So - a little smile today, and we'll cross our fingers for the days and years to come.

Which makes me think of this haiku I ran across somewhere many years ago and which has stuck in my head ever since:
Snail, my little man
slowly, oh so slowly -
climb up Mount Fuji!
You can read the complete ruling here.

Common snail

PS - Even if it gets to the Supremes one day, and even if they rule in our favor - do you really think any of that will ever change the minds of the half of the population who think this way?
Rich Nelson, a pastor from Oakland, was among a small group of protesters in favor of Proposition 8. Together with a pastor from San Francisco, he unfurled a large banner that said, "Re-criminalize Sodomy."

"It was likely that a homosexual judge would rule in his own interest so this was no big surprise to me," Nelson said minutes after Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who is gay, made his verdict public.

"But I'm sure that the fight will not stop here and the case will go in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The only real solution to the debacle of gay marriage is to back to the 1960s when sodomy was penalized in all 50 states," Nelson said.

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