Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weighing in against Prop 8

"Throughout history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in discrimination." —  Eric Holder, United States Attorney General, February 13, 2013

WHETHER OR NOT, the Supreme Court strikes down California's Proposition 8, and I hope they do, there's lots of good news for marriage equality. Here's a Cliff Notes version derived from three New York Times articles.

In a brief similar to one it just filed urging the Supreme Court to rule against the Defense of Marriage Act, also before the court, the Obama administration argues that California does not have the right to ban gay marriage. 

Although the brief does not ask the Supreme Court to make bans unconstitutional nationwide, since the Federal Government was not required to take a position on Prop 8, it's an assertive move, and especially so in light of the fact that the Federal Government did not feel so inclined in either the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case that struck down bans on interracial marriage or in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case that reversed state laws that held homosexual sex to be criminal.

I must admit I find it disheartening that it was illegal anywhere in these United States as late as 1967 to marry interracially and that as recently as 10 years ago, homosexual sex was against the law. But then again, it was only last month, 148 years late, that the state of Mississippi officially ratified the 13th Amendment banning slavery. Hold on, you say, it was ratified earlier than that; the papers just weren't filed correctly. Oh yeah, it was voted on and passed — in 1995! 

In another positive development, more than 100 notable Republicans have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief organized by Ken Mehlman, former Chairman of the National Republican Committee, taking an even more expansive position in favor of striking down Proposition 8. And as further encouraging news, a new Field Poll conducted in early February shows that Californians now approve of gay marriage by almost a 2 to 1 ratio: 61% in favor of permitting same-sex marriage and 32% opposing it.

Memo to Justice Anthony Kennedy: we're counting on you to be the swing vote. 
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