Friday, May 16, 2008

Equal Rights Marches On

We had a big win here in California yesterday for equal rights for all americans. In case you missed it, the California Supreme Court struck down a 2000 law that banned same-sex marriages, and rightly so.

As regular readers know I have, in the past, invoked the phrase "we the people" to oppose the more extreme policies of the GOP. But in this case "we the people" are wrong. We tried "separate but equal" once in this country and it didn't work. What makes the present opponents of equal rights for all Americans think it will work this time I don't know. What I do know is the kind of attitude that is exhibited by opponents of equal rights is driven by nothing but pure, blind hate. And the last time I checked "hate" was not a family value.

Be that as it may the California state constitution guarantees the same rights of personal privacy and autonomy as the federal constitution does, and the majority on the California Supreme Court rightly based their decision on those clauses:
The state Constitution's guarantees of personal privacy and autonomy protect "the right of an individual to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one's choice," said Chief Justice Ronald George, who wrote the 121-page majority opinion. He said the Constitution "properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples."

The conflict over same-sex marriage, in which public opinion and tradition are aligned against a minority group, is similar to the controversy the court confronted 60 years ago when it became the first in the nation to overturn a state ban on interracial marriage, George said.

Dissenters said the court had interfered with the democratic process and overstepped its bounds.

Those "dissenters" are the previously aforementioned hate-mongers.

The minority opinion from the court is just laughably biased. In it the minority absurdly claims this ruling opens the door to legalizing "polygamous and incestuous marriages" which is just ridiculous.

This argument is not really about same-sex marriage. It about a larger question of equal rights for all Americans, and basic fairness towards all. As a country we may not have always lived up to those ideals (the list of transgressions is long), but the United States was founded on the idea that every citizen, no matter what, is equal under the law and every citizen is entitled to the same protections and fair treatment as every one else. It has taken us a long time as a nation to get where we are now as a society, but we are on the verge of breaking down one of the last, great taboos. This makes me very proud to be an American right now.

We are making new history for the United States this year. Not only are we on the verge of finally taking steps to wipe out some of the last inequality in our society, but we also have the first viable black candidate for the presidency of our great nation. Come November I will proudly cast my vote for Senator Barak Obama to be the first black man to be president of this great nation. I will also proudly say that my state grants equal rights to all her citizens.

Did I already say it is a proud day to be an American?

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