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Proposition 8 Ruling!

Last evening, Ron and I arrived at the church’s picnic. My pastor saw me and said, “Did you hear the news?” I smiled and said, “Yep!”

The word got around pretty quickly yesterday that federal district court judge Vaughn Walker struck down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. I was listening to the Michelangelo Signorile show. He had people standing by on Twitter and had the TV on as he spent most of the show talking about what possible scenarios we were facing.

The ruling could not have been better or broader. And immediately, the anti-marriage groups were spreading their vitriol on the airwaves and in print. Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage said something to the effect of, “It’s not discrimination to treat different groups of people differently.” Really? Wow. Who knew?

Gallagher and others referred to Judge Walker as an “activist judge,” a phrase that’s been used lately by the right when things don’t go their way. It shows just how far to the right the Republican party has moved when you realize that this “activist judge” was appointed by the conservative icon of recent years, Ronald Reagan.

Some anti-gay folks said that Walker is gay, therefore, he is biased. He has not confirmed or denyed this, but it seems to be common knowledge. But Walker is also careful and very smart.

Michelangelo Signorile talked to several legal experts about the ruling. He went through it himself. He said, “It’s a page turner!” hehe. He read several sections during the show, and I have to say, it seems easier to understand than some of the legalese I’ve been exposed to in my career. I may have to go through it myself, too.
You can read the details of the ruling here.

I followed the trial and saw the pathetic excuse for a defense the anti-gay folks mounted. They seemed to realize that their usual arguments and scare tactics wouldn’t stand up in court. But ultimately, that’s all they have. Most of their witnesses bailed, citing possible persecution by the gays (Because you’re always hearing about those pesky gay gangs beating up Christians). Some were called as hostile witnesses by the prosecution because they made their side look good.

People who are painting Walker as biased and an activist judge, obviously haven’t read the ruling. Walker was very thorough. I think he knew he had to be. He went through all the points made by the prosecution and the defense. In his ruling, he cited “due process” and “equal protection under the law” according to the 14th Amendment. Basically, this means that the majority cannot vote to suppress the rights of a minority. Judge Walker referred to lgbt people as a “suspect class,” meaning a legitimate class of people.

The decision was sure to be appealed regardless of the ruling, but Walker’s thorough ruling will be referenced by subsequent courts, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court. It can potentially have a similar effect as “Brown vs. Board of Education.”

There’s still work to be done. Education, advocacy, and just. Being. Out, whether you’re lgbt or an ally. The other side is digging in for the long haul. We have to do the same.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased. For some reason, cynicism maybe, I didn't think this would happen. I hope this decision stands all the way up to the highest court.
Aug. 6th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
This hurdle was deemed easy in comparison to the conservative-leaning Supreme Court. But Walker was so thorough in his ruling, it will be harder to reverse.

We'll see.
Aug. 6th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
You were among the many people I thought of when I heard about the ruling. :D
Aug. 6th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
I thought of my FB friend, Troy Tempest.

It's been a good week. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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