Thursday, May 15, 2008

California rocks.

In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation ... [A}n individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

... In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental right to form a family relationship, the California 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 to opposite-sex couples.
Here's the ruling.

As Glenn Greenwald rightly notes, the one issue at stake is whether the provisions of the California State Constitution, in light of how they have been interpreted by that state's Supreme Court in prior decisions, have been violated by the exclusion of same-sex couples from the legal institution of "marriage." It's nothing but cold hard legal reasoning at work: if the state allows straight people the right to marry a person of their choosing, then obviously gay people should be allowed that same right. The key legal issue (quoting Greenwald again, you really should go read his analysis) is "equal treatment by the State as a secular matter, not defining 'marriage' for religious purposes." Which makes this whole thing that much more delicious.

I say this with total confidence: ten or fifteen years from now, this will all be settled and we'll be looking back on this era the way we look back on the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. It's absolutely inevitable.

(Oh, and did you know that six of the seven judges on the California supreme court are Republican appointees? How cool is that?)


T said...

YESSSSSSSSSS indeed! And do you know, Jenny just *happens* to be in SF right now, partying! Of all parties not to be with her for, but oh, well! Now let's just hope that all the bonehead conservatives don't try to get it overruled.

Rob, I wish I had your confidence about 15 years hence, though. I think the next election will mean a lot (how's that for Obvious Statement of the Century?). We are still looking at postdocs in Canada *just in case*.

hsempl said...

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is really nice to have some good news. And it's about fricking time. I agree with you, the change is happening,

And I must mention that pan is acting very suave at the moment, as well.

Rob said...

I'm really impressed by the ironclad logic in this decision. It's argued in such a way that to disagree with it, you pretty much have to throw out the idea of all people being equal under the law. I don't think anybody except the most insane conservative cave dwellers would want to go there. It's a very strong precedent, and the Governator supports it.

Fifteen years? Sure. Time enough for old-fashioned hunchbrained bigoted attitudes to start dying with those that hold them; time enough for younger, more tolerant Americans to graduate college and get out and start changing things. It's bound to happen.

Rob said...

And Pan always acts suave. That cat defines suave.

Orion said...

It does my heart good it does. It IS inevitable. Can't see why it isn't obvious how unconstitutional it is to deny gay marriage. I don't believe the constitution in its language specifies who is endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, chief among them being the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness and who isn't. My hope is that in 15 years... people will be giving a big "Duh!" to all of this nonsense.

mike said...

It's progress. As with global warming or food security or peace or anything else that matters, I'm optimistic for the long term, but pretty sure things will get worse before they get better.

On the other hand, it's been almost two years since my kids' two mommies got legally married in Massachusetts, and their state marriage license not only provided for "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2" (not "bride" and "groom"), but had lines to identify their parents as "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."