Equal Marriage – Prop 8 Ruling in California

So, the anti-gay Prop 8 has been ruled unconstitutional in California.

[Here’s the catch-up if you’ve not been paying attention – California allowed some same-sex couples to marry, then there was a people’s poll on the same day as the Obama election which was passeed by 52% to 48%. It determined a new amendment to the California constitution which said, “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. Now, a legal challenge to that has gone through the courts which has found that this in itself was unconstitutional. This has ramifications for those other states which had adopted similar measures and world-wide implications for where California goes today, so many other places will go tomorrow].

Even in the time since Prop 8 was put to the people, the argument has moved on, with Argentina becoming the first South American country to introduce Equal Marriage. (And Mexico offering the first lucky couple a free honeymoon).

Whilst Civil Partnership in this country once appeared quite progressive, it now does not seem to be so. A separate instutution for gay couples seems far from satisfactory. Gradually in one place after another, the argument for Equal Marriage is being made and is being won.

And it moves me too. Even though I’ve long been convinced that people need to be treated equally under the law, when victories are won, it is often the words of the judges or politicians which move me even more than those folk who just want to get wed.

Here’s the key sentence from yesterday’s judgement:

“Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as ‘the right to same-sex marriage’ would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy — namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.”

That’s the bit of it that made me feel something. It is by statements like that, that gay people are becoming citizens the world over, who have the same rights as anyone else.

Now, I’ve no doubt that this one may yet run and run. I expect that it will be challenged in a higher court. I’m not naive enough to think that its all over yet. However, I do believe that the argument is being won. Little by little, one more step along the world we go and each little victory tastes sweet and wholesome.

Want a taste from the UK?

Here’s part of the judgement from the new UK Supreme Court in the case which blocked the Home Office from deporting gay people to countries in which they faced violence and persecution for being gay. (The government had argued that they should be “discreet”):

“To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is.
“Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight.”

Little by little.

Step by step.

Sweetness by sweetness.

And just in case you need something to connect these legal cases with real people, take a look at Rosemary’s post this morning in which she writes about the ordinariness of the wonder of Duncan and Kenneth plighting their troth.