Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
November 18, 2011
California’s Supreme Court Decrees That Anti-Gay Marriage Groups Can Continue To Make Fools Of Themselves
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
California’s Supreme Court unanimously decreed that the official proponents of Proposition 8 are entitled to defend their measure in court. Reaction to the ruling from the major organizations on both sides was swift and predictable. The Courage Campaign called it “an outrageous, irresponsible decision that has no basis in the California Constitution.” The Protect Marriage people thought the ruling signaled the demise of the lawsuit. Both sides are merely pandering to public opinion.
We Like This Ruling
We believe that the ruling is beneficial for the cause of same sex marriage. In its decision, the Court emphasized that the ruling resolved a procedural issue about the integrity of California’s initiative process and had nothing to do with gay marriage. We believe everybody knew that and now that the matter is resolved the real issue can return to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. We have no doubt about its favorable outcome: banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional. A federal judge previously said so and in earlier hearings the 9th Circuit Court seemed to lean in that direction as well. Regardless of what happens next, this case will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling thus moves forward a process that was taken out of the state’s domain and will ultimately ensure that marriage equality is the law of the land, a process that was halted on an unrelated issue. Think of it, all the arguments, pro and con, will be publicized, analyzed, and commented upon. The party that loses will sharpen its arguments for the next round. We’ll get to hear it all and it will all be written down. The absolute ridiculousness of the reasons for denying equal rights to a group of people will be a record for future generations to laugh at.
There is one fly in the ointment. Had the California Supreme Court ruled the other way, that is, had they ruled that private groups had no standing to defend in court the measure they sponsored, then there may not have been a case (the ruling is not binding on the 9th Circuit Court), and Proposition 8 would be unconstitutional. Many of our LGBT friends could get married almost right away. The process we champion is a long one and our friends now must wait. That we regret.
Once Marriage Equality Is Legally Established, It Must Become Socially Acceptable
Legally establishing a right is a necessary but insufficient step. Once it is legally established that same sex couple may marry, the hard work that has been going on for some time attains a sharper focus. We are speaking, of course, about convincing people that marriage, a union blessed by the state and endowed with over a thousands rights, is not just a legal right but a human right as well. Once the legal precedent is established, social acceptance becomes the next obstacle to overcome. We believe it crucial, because if marriage is a voluntary commitment between two people in love to share their lives, then two people in love ought to be allowed to share their lives.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org