Thursday, August 5, 2010
California's Proposition 8 Overturned
Posted by Matt Kane
As I expected, California's Proposition 8 was shot down in a California federal court yesterday because it violated the Equal Protection clause laid out in the Fourteenth Amendment. To be frank, it is simply unconscionable to allow one group to marry (straight folk) and deny that same legal right to another group (gay folk.) I often compare the legal arguments against gay marriage to the legal arguments against interracial marriage: both have no legs to stand on in today's society (or any society, for that matter.)
Judge Vaughn R. Walker stated in his opinion that, "Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest." The anti-gay marriage argument against the practice? Tradition. They said that gay marriage hurts the institution of marriage and that marriage is rooted in the need to procreate, thus making it crucial to the survival of the human race. You have to be kidding me.
I've yet to hear a half-way intelligent argument as to how same-sex marriage will ruin the sanctity of the already tattered institution. The argument would hold a little more weight if those opposed to gay marriage took the stance that divorce should be punishable by capital punishment (until death do us part) to preserve the sanctity of marriage. Also, given the arguments that homophobic people threatened by others' sexuality make, before a man and a woman enter into a marriage they should be taking a fertility test. If either future spouse will be unable to produce a child in their marriage the union should be barred. The survival of the human race is at stake.
Judge Walker had another great quote that sets the way for a possible victory at the highest court of the land in a few years. He said, "Tradition alone, however, cannot form the rational basis for a law." Anyone who legitimately tries to argue that tradition should dictate legislation and legal precedent is out of his/her mind. There are so many pernicious traditions in American history (slavery, lynching, segregation, anti-miscegenation) that would immediately disqualify tradition as a passable legal argument. Combine this with the ludicrous idea that gay marriage would threaten the future existence of the human race and Judge Walker's decision had to be one of the easiest of his career.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: those against gay marriage are simply on the wrong side of history. Look at how history has treated folks like Bull Connor, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Strom Thurmond, to name a few. Are these people whose company you want to be included in? The beauty of the Constitution is two-fold in this case. It allows those opposed to gay marriage to voice their opinions in whichever way they choose. The same document allows for the equal protection of all citizens before the law, thus allowing gays to get married.
Photo - The most emblematic picture of gay marriage in California on Google Images (LA Times)