The Ongoing Debate of Prop 8: Gay Marriage Approved by Judge…Again

www.TheFeministBride.com:  California resubmitted its gazillionth ruling on Prop 8 today, August 4, 2010. Like the longest tennis

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match in history of John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut (Jan. 2010), gay-marriage (and Prop 8) will most likely continue to be disputed back in forth in what will be one of the greatest political and cultural debates of our generation.

It’s amazing this debate relentlessly continues, as it has been an issue for the last 2,000 years.  When conservatives and religions argue that homosexuality is against nature, I think the mere fact that it’s been argued for two millennia is solid proof that it IS part of human nature. You show me another scientific study that has lasted as long. But here we are again, fighting for gay-marriage - in California.http://thefeministbride.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wor...); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; background-position: 100% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;" title="More..." src="http://thefeministbride.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif" alt="">

On this returned serve, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker repealed the 2008 California ban on gay-marriage as a violation of the constitutional due process and equal protection rights for gay individuals (under the 14th Amendment). Anti-gay marriage advocates are already planning for a counter attack by taking the case in an appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. It is expected that the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 or 2012.

This is not the first time gay couples requested a date with the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972 in Baker vs. Nelson, two gay-men in Minneapolis were denied the right to marry. The case was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court under “for want of a substantial federal question,” meaning that the issue was not federally related.  In the 1967 trial of Loving vs. Virginia, anti-miscegenation laws (laws that banned interracial marriages) were revoked. Traditional marriage proponents have fought to keep marriage as an institution that keeps “like with like,” so to rule that it legally must include and accept racially diverse couples challenged the traditional model of marriage. Sound familiar? While Stonewall (1969) and Harvey Milk (1977) began fighting for gay rights, it was a tumultuous time for all civil rights but gay rights were simply not at the forefront of it all.  Perhaps forty-years later, we’ve finally come to a point in our society when we can fully give the same civil rights, we all enjoy, to gay and lesbian people.

I recently watched a movie on the life of the writer, Oscar Wilde.  At the end of his life, Wilde was convicted of “gross indecency and sodomy” and sentenced to prison for his homosexuality for two years. It amazed me that in 1895 there was not a mention of human rights violation amongst the general public for Wilde’s imprisonment. While civil rights for homosexuals have improved since Wilde’s time, they have yet to gain the full spectrum of basic rights that we all enjoy.

Gay-marriage opponents are worried that legalizing gay marriage will change the definition of marriage, weaken the institution and promote sexual behavior that their doctrine forbids. In the case of Prop 8, no one is fighting to change doctrine within the church. Judge Walker had an amazingly poignant observation concerning the 18,000 gay couples that were allowed to stay legally married during the ban, "18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and [no one] has suffered any demonstrated harm as a result." Government approval of gay-marriage will not change marriage in religious institutions.

People, gay and straight, are fighting to give the same civil rights to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Marriage, in the eyes of the government (not the church) allow for certain legal rights, by denying specific individuals those rights we are committing acts of discrimination and treating them as second-class citizens. As individuals we feel entitled to live freely the way we desire, yet we do not extend the same courtesies to our brothers and sisters because they chose to live differently. 33 years ago we were in this exact debate about extending marriage rights based on race and now we are discriminating based on sex; when we will finally learn that different does not justify unequal?

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