So, the week I’m on vacation, the biggest gay marriage news happens and I can’t update my blog! But so it goes. In case you hadn’t heard, Judge Vaughn Walker, of the US District Court for Northern California declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. It’s a huge victory for gay rights, but the fight is far from over. This case will almost certainly be appealed, and could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Conversely, the Supreme Court could refuse to hear it, or it could never reach that level.
There are three important lessons to be learned from this victory:
- The Fourteenth Amendment is the key to equality. Judge Walker ruled that Prop 8 violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of this Constitutional amendment. Both of these basic civil protections formed the basis for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s as well. For those who don’t know, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments were passed following the Civil War. They’ve been called the “Second Bill of Rights”, and, given their ability to create equality in America, it’s not a misnomer.
- It’s almost universally recognized that the arguments against gay marriage are fallacious. Discrimination based upon religious belief doesn’t seem to be justifiable any longer. Or, it doesn’t hold up in a public debate at least. People will continue to be homophobic in their houses and voting booths, but they don’t even want to acknowledge why in public.
- The Christian Right’s, and in particular, the Catholic Church’s hold on the issue of gay marriage is weakening. This was also shown when two strongly Catholic nations moved towards equality for gay citizens. Argentina, which is 76.5% Catholic, legalized gay marriage a few weeks back. In Mexico, which is 89% Catholic, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriages must be recognized throughout the whole country.
All in all, the fight for gay rights is progressing, just as it’s been expected to. Citizens of both the United States and other countries are becoming more accepting of gay and lesbian relationships, leading to a greater equality and freedom for gay couples. Still, not we cannot become complacent. Especially in the United States, hatred based on sexual orientation exists and proponents of “traditional marriage” spread misinformation and logical fallacies in an attempt to stem to coming flood of support for GLBT populations. We should do all we can to promote marriage equality for all.