Saturday, August 14, 2010

Prop 8 overturned in California, a taste of justice and equality.

The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.

-US District Judge Walker

My cell phone rang furiously on Thursday of this week as everyone awaited a decision from Judge Walker regarding a stay on same-sex marriages in California. The decision would be announced between 9 AM and Noon Pacific Time. Bruce and Tom waited all morning at the County government in the hope of being able to obtain a marriage license. They have been together for several years and were afraid that license for same sex couples would only be available for a very short period of time before another court placed an injunction against issuing such licenses. They had called me after Judge Walker had ruled last week and asked if I would officiate at their marriage at the first legal opportunity. I had said I would be honored.

In short, Bruce and Tom were afraid that yet, once again, their rights would be taken away from them and they would be relegated to second class citizenship. As it happened, I was attending a meeting with many people one of whom is both an attorney and a law professor at a New York University. I asked her what would most probably happen next?

She explained that the defendants (the Yes on Prop 8 crowd) would turn to the Ninth Circuit Court and request an extension of the stay (an order not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples) until the Ninth Circuit Court could hear the case and issue a ruling on the matter. The law professor went on to explain that the Ninth Circuit Court would be UNLIKELY to issue such a stay. In order to issue a stay the Yes on Prop 8 attorneys would have to demonstrate to the Court that failure to issue such a stay would cause “irreparable harm.” The problem for their side is, that they just failed to do precisely just that before Judge Walker.

I asked, “Won’t they then just go to the US Supreme Court, as they did over the issue of cameras in the court room (the Yes on Prop 8 side did not want the you to be able to view the trial)? No, she said, that was a First Amendment issue which is huge for the Supreme Court, this is not and they are unlikely to intervene.

Judge Walker’s temporary stay will be automatically lifted at 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday 18 August. California State Offices will being issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples thereafter. Until then, Bruce & Tom, countless other couples and the rest of us are holding our breath. After a lifetime of discrimination, bigotry and abuse its still a little hard to believe that justice is possible for us.

1 comment:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

There is no turning back...not in California or by one prejudice, ignorance and discrimination will bite the dust...we are shaping up to be quite the courageous lot...thanks be to God who wants us to be the authentic people that God made us to be (I have it on good authority).