Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Prop 8 overturned: 24 hours later

Yesterday when Prop 8 was overturned, I was doing a little jig in my head.

"Cheers! Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!
May this ruling live 800 years!"*

By now that I've had a night to think about it, and there are broader implications that I have mixed emotions about.
  • Same sex marriages will not resume immediately. There is a stay until the time limit for the opposing side to appeal has passed. Presumably, if the do appeal, the stay is extended. I think I'm okay with this in principle, though I might feel differently if I were directly affected by the stay.
  • The ruling is very narrowly defined, so that it only applies to the state of California. This one I'm really torn about. It would be soooo nice if this were taken to the Supreme Court and the repercussions were far reaching enough to overturn DOMA. But I don't trust the activist judges sitting in our current supreme court to decide that way. Maybe I'm still bitter about the Citizen's United decision, where the Supreme Court asked the parties to argue the case on different grounds than those they initially chose to argue. From the Wikipedia article on the topic:
    On June 29, 2009, the Supreme Court issued an order directing the parties to reargue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[15] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge to Section 203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim. Stevens argued that the Court chose to hear argument on issues the parties had agreed were not to be presented to the Court and that it reached a decision on constitutionality when it could have found for the plaintiffs on narrower grounds.[16]
    Fact of the matter is, I don't trust this court as far as I can spit, and there's a part of me that is pessimistically happy that this decision for equality in marriage is put off a few years until a better court can see the issue. Does that put me firmly into the older, more conservative and fearful generation of activists? Aside from the fact that I haven't been actively on the front lines of this issue in a decade now, it probably does. But I no longer dream, as I used to, that marriage equality will come at such a time that I'll be able to marry my partner at the same time as my children will be able to marry. I know that it will come long before that. That fact, and the winning of this battle along the way brings me great joy.

*Apologies to Maurice Sendak for abusing his lines.

No comments:

Post a Comment