Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prop 8: The Day After

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM

There was plenty of celebrating, both online and in real life, after yesterday’s announcement that Federal Judge Vaughn R. Walker has declared California Prop 8 unconstitutional.

The ruling that same-sex couples are identical to their opposite-sex counterparts reverberated throughout the media and the online world, prompting at least one very droll post at the height of it:

“I wish someone on Twitter or Facebook would tell me what’s going on with Prop 8.”

Actually, here's someone who really can, albeit in way more than 140 characters. My old Sacramento News & Review colleague Kel Munger (who’s also been known to do the occasional Indy book review) has already written extensively about the decision on her “Kel’s Hot Flash” blog, which you'll find right here.

The thoughtful analysis comes from a woman whose own constitutional rights are directly affected by the decision (as are all of ours, ultimately).

And unlike 99.9 percent of journalists currently writing about it, Kel has actually read the court transcripts. Which you can do as well by paying a visit to the court’s website.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Kel’s blog to get you started:

The primary sources of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision rest in the Fourteenth Amendment. (Perhaps not ironically, this is the amendment that a number of right-wingers want to “revisit” in order to stop conferring U.S. citizenship on the children of illegal immigrants.)

You’ll note that, even though this amendment was purely intended to deal with the fallout from the Civil War, it has since been used to protect the rights of a wide variety of people. The bottom line is that, no matter what the intentions of the Northerners who wrote it, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that all Americans will be treated equally under the law and equally protected by the law, no matter what.

And that means, now as it did then, even if you don’t like them very much.

Ultimately, if you read the transcripts of the trial (and I cannot stress how important that is-—it’s impossible to evaluate this decision without understanding the evidence and argument that led to it), it becomes apparent that the two motivations behind Prop. 8 were, simply, "God says it’s wrong," and "I don’t like it."

Under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, “God said it’s wrong” isn’t a reason to make something illegal. In fact, what “God said,” to you or anyone else, is irrelevant. Laws are adopted for the common good. What’s more, there are just as many—if not more—religious people and believers who insist that “God” never “said” any such thing.

And the “I don’t like it” argument, also known as the “ick factor"?

The Fourteenth Amendment makes it clear: Just like African Americans, women, immigrants, Mormons, atheists and anyone else you might not like, gay people are still entitled to equal treatment under and protection of the law.

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