Justice Vaughn Walker is going on my heroes list

Posted on August 5, 2010

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Prop 8 passed on November 4 of my senior year of high school. I was heavily involved in the Gay-Straight Alliance at my school, and the results came after a long week of hard work on “No on 8” demonstrations.  Growing up in a “redneck, white-trash ghetto in the middle of nowhere,” as I lovingly call it, being of the opinion that everyone should be equal before the law, regardless of what any holy book says, instantly makes one a target, and the smug gloating of anti-equality fundamentalists on that day was intense, to say the least.

During the lunch period, GSA members trudged into Mrs. Somer’s room for our weekly meeting, to get away from the rest of our classmates, if nothing else. You could almost see the disappointment hanging in the air. Some people were crying, some milled around listlessly, like they were in shock, everyone was confused. How could this happen? How could civil rights be put up to a popular vote? Wasn’t this America? Mrs. Somer, the GSA advisor and coolest biology teacher of all time, entered the room, and seeing our heartbroken, outraged faces, gave us a pep talk that I will never forget. She said that we had been beaten today, but she told us that we lived in California, in the United States of America, that promised that each of its citizens are born with inalienable  rights, that we are all guaranteed equality before the law. She said that even though we lost today, there was now a contradiction in our constitution, an illegal inconsistency that would have to give way in the end. This is the beginning of a long, hard fight, she said. It may take years, it may take decades, but eventually, equality would win, and our inalienable rights would be reinstated.

Today was the first, beautiful step in that direction. The judge ruled the same thing we’ve all always known, that there was just no good reason gays shouldn’t be allowed to get married, and that the state of California refused to turn any of its citizens into second class citizens. Of course, this isn’t the end. Gay marriage opponents have already filed the paperwork to appeal. I think we all know that no one is going to be satisfied until this gets to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, however, Judge Walker stated all the facts in his ruling:

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians.The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.”

“Race restrictions on marital partners were once common in most states but are now seen as archaic, shameful or even bizarre. When the Supreme Court invalidated race restrictions in Loving, the definition of the right to marry did not change. Instead, the Court recognized that race restrictions, despite their historical prevalence, stood in stark contrast to the concepts of liberty and choice inherent in the right to marry.”

I think they’re going to have a hard time arguing against that.

Posted in: BEDA