Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And Now, Some Good News (And It's About Damned Time)...

A federal judge in California has ruled that Proposition 8, which in 2008 reversed a state Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage was legal, is unconstitutional. As fate would have it, the case was overseen by Judge Vaughn Walker, who happens to be homosexual. This particular milestone in the LGBT community's long-suffering struggle for the same rights everyone else in this nation has, no more and no less, is somewhat amusing to me, but not because Walker is homosexual. I'll get to that part in a minute.

First, I applaud Walker for putting what this whole repellant Proposition 8 business was really about in print (boldface mine):

...Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing.

Walker, however, found it violated the Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses while failing "to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license."

"Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples," the judge wrote in his 136-page ruling.

He also said proponents offered little evidence that they were motivated by anything other than animus toward gays – beginning with their campaign to pass the ban, which included claims of wanting to protect children from learning about same-sex marriage in school.

"Proposition 8 played on the fear that exposure to homosexuality would turn children into homosexuals and that parents should dread having children who are not heterosexual," Walker wrote...

"Animus toward gays" -- that's the name of this tune in three notes. The homophobes might as well be spraying an entire bottle of perfume on a pile of shit for all the success they've achieved from their efforts at disguising their homophobia. The result may smell mostly like perfume, but it still looks absolutely like a pile of shit.

Which brings me to the amusing part of all this. Again, boldface mine...


...

The plaintiffs presented 18 witnesses. Academic experts testified about topics ranging from the fitness of gay parents and religious views on homosexuality to the historical meaning of marriage and the political influence of the gay rights movement.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson teamed up with David Boies to argue the case, bringing together the two litigators best known for representing George W. Bush and Al Gore in the disputed 2000 election.

Defense lawyers called just two witnesses, claiming they did not need to present expert testimony because the U.S. Supreme Court had never specifically upheld the right to gay marriage...

In light of how much money Proposition 8 supporters spent on their efforts to overturn California's recognition of gay marriage, and that their side won on election day with just fifty-two percent of the popular vote (an astonishingly close vote when you consider how hostile much of the country still feels toward equal rights for gays), you'd think the homophobes would have acted just as vigorously in court in defense of their homophobic views as they did during the 2008 election season -- especially with a gay judge presiding over a high-profile case in which they were the defendants. Didn't happen. Didn't even come close. To me, that's amusing.

But how did they fail so dismally here?

I'm of three minds when trying to answer this one. One mind says they thought their success in getting Proposition 8 passed in an election would translate smoothly into a victory for the defense in court. Trouble with that one is, voters always vote the way they vote on election day based on a combination of their self-interests, their concerns, their fears, their wants, their frustrations, and the conclusions they draw form all of those, whereas sitting judges usually try to make decisions based on their best interpretations of whatever the law says. Apart from the judges who are ideologues, the voters' method and the judges' method are incompatible. Lucky for us, Judge Walker is not an ideologue.

A second mind says that the homophobes are so entrenched in their outdated views, they've come to view them as self-evident. Naturally, they are appealing this case -- using the popular vote as a special plead...

The attorneys also said gay marriage was an experiment with unknown social consequences that should be left to voters to accept or reject...


Mm-hm. Meanwhile, homophobia has well-documented social consequences, all of them negative. Who's really clamoring for special treatment here?

And then there's that third mind of mine. This is the one that says the reason the defendants didn't bring more witnesses to this case is because... they have no real defense, and they know it. As Judge Walker spelled out in his ruling. Nothing but an irrational fear of gays -- and the realization that no matter how much perfume they spray on that pile of shit of theirs, it's still a pile of shit.

What a miserable way to go through life...

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