Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Why Prop 8 Was Completely Anti-American

The celebrations  here in San Francisco  are  still going on at this hour.   The rally which began in  the Castro District soon turned in to a  celebratory march that  shut down half  of  Market Street  as it made its way to Civic Center Plaza in front of   SF City Hall.

There  were  speeches,  (lots of speeches), music, flags, banners and lots of  joy. Even though  the decision  in  Perry v. Schwarzenegger,  won't go into effect  today.  (There is a two day  time frame for the court to consider  a motion by opponents of  Marriage Equality to stay the the resumption  of  same sex marriages  in California  while  they appeal this case  to the  U.S. Supreme Court.)  Yet the sense of vindication and  victory in  the California  LGBT community  is  clear  for everyone to see.

So what does this all mean?    Does this mean  Same Sex  Marriage  will soon be  sweeping the nation?  Well,  not so much.    The ruling  simply says the State of California  can't  ban  gay marriage  here in  CA.   Which is  largely symbolic.   There still is no Federal  recognition of  same sex marriages.  Same sex  spouses  still can't  file joint  Federal  Income Tax forms,   pass on  Social Security Survivor  benefits  or  sponsor their  husband or wife  for  immigration to the  U.S.

All of those  key benefits  associated with marriage  are  regulated on  Federal level  by the  ridiculously   mis-named  "Defense of Marriage Act".  (DOMA) and  at least for now,  that law  is unchanged.    Should  the Perry case  make it to the  U.S. Supreme Court,(which it is pretty safe to say it  most likely will),   that  law could  very well change.   Should the  nine SCOTUS  Justices  uphold  the  ruling made today,  it would  in effect  nullify  all  laws  banning Marriage  Equality  in the  United States.

So why did the  pro- Prop 8 forces  lose?   I will  talk about  the  legal  issues  in  a minute.  but  what  was  amazing about this  court  case  was  how  the  supporters of  Prop 8  were  completely  unable to  provide any real  evidence  backing up  their  positions.    I could  go on  and on about  how hollow and   empty  the  Yes On 8 arguments  were, but  Rachel Maddow does it so much better than  I could:

We''ll set the spectacle  of  the  Prop 8 trial,  and  the inherent silliness of  the attempt to use "Gay is Bad  because God Says So" as a legal  argument,  aside for the moment.   the biggest reason why the plaintiffs in this case won,  and  why Prop 8 is completely unconstitutional  is very simple.    So  allow me to  lay it out for you .

1)  Same Sex Marriage doesn't threaten or impact ANYONE ELSE'S  marriage  or family  in any way.
2) You cannot  put  the civil rights of  a minority  up  to  popular vote. Rights  are not subject to the whims of  the electorate  that is why they are  RIGHTS.
3)  Just because you don't like a particular minority,  doesn't mean you get to make them 2nd Class Citizens

Judge Walker,  puts it  even more clearly on page  116 of  his ruling where he writes that;

 "fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote, they depend on the outcome of no elections"

This  is why Proposition 8 is fundamentally un-American, and  un-constitutional.

Prop 8 took  the whole idea  of   fundamental rights laid out  in  the Declaration of  Independence and  the U.S. Constitution and said  that  they were not inalienable.  But rather subject to the mood  of  at least 51% of  whoever shows up to vote in a given election.  That is not democracy, that is electorally sanctioned discrimination,   and it was an affront to everything  our country stands for, and  everything our nation's  founding fathers stood for.

Proposition 8,  denied  basic, fundamental  civil rights  to  an entire group of  Californians,  based  solely on a desire by  groups like the Mormon Church and  Conservative Evangelicals, to put into civil law their belief that  God hates Gay people.  So therefore  the law should treat them as less than everybody else.

If the  U.S.  Supreme Court fails to uphold  today's ruling,  they will have said that  the United States of America is no better than the Taliban.

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