Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
December 7, 2012
Will The Supreme Court Make 2013 A Year That Goes Down In History?
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
The Supreme Court is going to rule whether California’s Proposition 8 is constitutional. The announcement was eagerly awaited and when it came, our community celebrated and the media began speculating on the outcome expected sometime around next June. Many of our colleagues in the fight for social justice believe that the ruling will be in our favor.We are not as sanguine and wondered what would happen if the Supreme Court upholds the ban on same sex marriage. We started reading.
There Are Three Major Ways The Decision Could Go
The hoped for outcome is for a majority of those nine judges to write that denying LGBTs the right to marry, or even denyingLGBTs the right to call their union marriage, is unconstitutional. This is a dramaticstep and those 31 states that now have written into their constitution that marriage is only between a man and a woman, would have to strike those clauses.
The second outcome is for the Supreme Court to find that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional but only on the particulars of the case. This means that it would only apply to California, leaving laws opposing same-sex marriage in other states intact. The third outcome is a ruling that upholds Proposition 8. The result would be that each state may pass legislation banning same-sex marriage.
What Are The Consequences Of Each Outcome?
We believe in the law, but sometimes the law runs behind social justice. If such is the case, and we believe such is the case with same-sex marriage, then work and sacrifice are required to change the law. It is what countless others have done before, for example, Mahatma Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King. In this light, the only consequence of the three outcomes we sketched above is TIME. If Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, then state laws banning same-sex marriage are null and void. If the ruling is narrow and applies to California only, then more time is needed to make the other states see the light. If Proposition 8 is upheld, then even more time is required to achieve social justice.
The weight of public opinion is shifting in favor of same-sex marriage and sooner or later there will be laws to enshrine that right for everybody. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision merely determines the sooner or later.
Regardless Of Outcome, Our Work Continues
With or without a law the intense work to change hearts and minds continues. If there are laws that allow same-sex marriages, or no laws that forbid it, the work goes toward making the law come alive. If there are laws that prevent same-sex marriage, then the work goes toward establishing those laws, state by state if we have to. No doubt, the end result of all our work would be quicker with an endorsement from the ultimate arbiter of the land.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org