Friday, August 6, 2010

Prop 8 Falls: Why Straight, Married People Should Care About Same-Sex Marriage


Here in California, Proposition 8 was finally overturned, with great joy and celebration among my family, friends and tweeples (hey there, twitter pals!). And maybe you're asking yourself, "Why should a straight woman, married nearly 20 years, and mom of two, care one way or another?" My answer is simple: my home state has decodified discrimination against my gay and lesbian family and friends. And, while it seems like a no-brainer, less discrimination in our laws is good for everyone: it regales the American promise of "liberty and justice for all." In the same way that restricting anyone's freedom restricts all of our rights, this decision reinforces and strengthens the freedoms we all share. And guess what? Much to the surprise of the right, my own marriage hasn't tumbled because of the overturning of Prop 8. In fact, The Hubby and I are still every bit as married and committed to each other as we have been for the last two decades - making same-sex marriage legal hasn't made us less married. If anything, it makes our bond stronger. That's because it gives our dear friends Thom and Frank's marriage the legal legitimacy that we've all known it's had all along, and provides them all, not some of, the rights afforded to The Hubby and me. So, how can that be a bad thing? How can recognizing that everyone is entitled to a husband or wife be so charged with malice in the eyes of some? How can such a simple yet hallmark decision be seen as negative?

The right has been scarily quiet on this decision, as Our Gal Maddow pointed out yesterday:

As Rachel stated, some of the language seems almost a custom-fit for a wedge issue mailer or video. Fund-raising fodder: that seems almost impossible for the GOP to pass up, y'know? My own theory as to the silence on the right is that they're probably assuming that the 9th Circuit, which tends to lean liberal, will also uphold this judgment, and they are saving their resources and self-righteous angst until it is time for the big SCOTUS fight, which is destined to occur. Perhaps they're actually anxious for this decision to go on to the Supreme Court since the makeup of this bench, the same bench that gave corporations personhood, will surely strike such a democratic (small d) decision down. Or maybe they realize that same-sex marriage is not the hot-button issue with voters it once was and they're saving face after such a strikingly clear, strongly worded decision (read it yourself here - trust me, it's well-worth the read! My favorite part is when the Prop 8 proponents said that they needed no evidence to support their facts...Seriously! They did! I can't make this stuff up.)

Whatever the reason, some disgruntled rumblings are beginning to be heard. Scared people, people who want to preserve their base of power, people who believe in rule by fear are beginning to rile their anger and speak out after such a damning blow to their side (quote from American Family Association, via Calitics):
Yesterday (August 4), U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker single-handedly overturned California's Prop. 8, which elevated protection for one-man, one-woman marriage to its state constitution. In doing so, he frustrated the expressed will of seven million Californians who went to the polls to shape their state's public policy on marriage...Fortunately, the Founders provided checks and balances for every branch of government, including the judicial branch. Federal judges hold office only "during good Behaviour," and if they violate that standard can be removed from the bench. Judge Walker's ruling is not "good Behaviour." He has exceeded his constitutional authority and engaged in judicial tyranny. Judges are not, in fact, unaccountable. They are accountable to Congress, which can remove them from office. Impeachment proceedings, according to the Constitution, begin in the House of Representatives. It's time for you to put your congressman on record regarding the possible impeachment of Judge Walker.
The bad spelling (and logic) is all the AFA's, not mine...but once again, we're hearing that recurring theme, that melody that keeps repeating over and over again: remember the "Second Amendment remedies" idea that Sharon Angle put forth not so long ago? Remember the Teabaggers wearing their sidearms to rallies with The President? And all the birthers who say our President isn't legit? It's the same rationale that little kids use when they decide to pick up their marbles and go home. (Okay, maybe now it's their YuGiOh cards...) It all comes down to this: if they can't play the game their way, with all the biases, racism and hatred that's inherent, then they don't wanna play, and you shouldn't get to either! 

 Juvenile? Yes. In fact, it's the opposite of what we we teach our own children. We tell them the importance of good sportsmanship: being a good sport when we don't win, rising above a defeat, shaking hands with the other team and saying, "Good game." I believe in the adult world, we call it the rule of law. It's the way we manage to go on when the Ohio electronic ballot machines are pre-programmed with more GOP votes than there are voters in the entire precinct. And it's the way we fight harder for the cause after the Supreme Court appoints someone President who wouldn't be if every vote had been properly counted. Unfortunately, some folks never become good sports. Some folks are spoiled. Some folks decide that everyone needs to practice the correct faith - theirs. Some people decide killing abortion doctors is justified in the eyes of God. Or they wear their guns and tell their followers  to overturn the government by forceful means, and to treat those they disagree with like second class citizens demonize them and forbid them to marry the ones they love. "We are better/holier/more moral/just plain more right than you, so we will prevail. By any means necessary." It's all from the same twisted logic, that fear of a lack of power. I'm not one for quoting the now-rampant wristband wisdom of WWJD, but somehow, I don't think Jesus would be threatening people, packing heat and impeaching those who disagree with him.

So congrats to all the loving couples that I hope, not too far down the road, can join us in wedded bliss (read: insanity and laundry and debating who can get the kids to school and still get to work on time. And actually finding time for a movie and each other once in awhile!) Welcome to the world of wedding planners, DJs, tux rentals and florists. (The whole idea supports small businesses...what's for the GOP not to like???) And one day not too far from now, whether it's a big church wedding or an ordained minister/Elvis impersonator in Vegas, or opting not to marry because you can choose not to, congratulations to our fellow citizens, straight, gay or lesbian. We should all sleep better knowing we are one step closer to fulfilling the promise of our founders that all men and women are created equal.