Prop. 8: A Case About Justice
This case is not about just us. It's about justice.
My wife, Diane, and I will never say, "Please don't divorce us."
There is a very moving public service announcement all over the Internet in which same-sex couples are holding up a sign or saying, "Please don't divorce us." The music in the background is compelling, and the announcement, which collects thousands of names for the organization that produced it, should have made Diane and me very happy, especially because there is a clip of our wedding in it. But it didn't.
Once I got over the hearts and flowers of seeing other same-sex married couples, I became very angry. Because that PSA is totally off message.
The upcoming March 5 California Supreme Court case is not about us.
If the court rules that only existing marriages of same-sex couples are valid, it will be a hollow victory, because we do not want to be the only ones on the Freedom Train.
The California Supreme Court needs to overturn Proposition 8 because what Prop. 8 does - for the first time in American history - is to take out of a constitution a group that has been declared equal by the Supreme Court.
This is dangerous, because it means 50 percent of the people plus a single vote can vote to take away protections for labor, for unions, to take women and minorities out of the Constitution, to take YOU out of the state Constitution.
The legal challenge to Prop. 8 is supported by hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights groups, women's organizations and labor unions, along with numerous California municipal governments, bar associations and leading legal scholars.
What started out as a fight for loving same-sex couples wanting the fundamental right of marriage has exploded into one of the biggest civil-rights cases in American history, because now we, and all of the attorneys on our side, are standing up to defend the constitution for all of us.
Diane and I are optimistic. Of course, we are not attorneys, which I'm sure gives us a leg up on optimism. But why would the California Supreme Court not overturn Prop. 8, when the proposition would also give people the power to challenge all of the court's decisions protecting minorities against the loss of fundamental rights? Wouldn't this make the court obsolete?
Some people have said, "Well, you can always put your right to equality back on the ballot in 2010." Excuse me? Since when was it OK for people to vote on a group's rights to basic equality and civil rights? Equality isn't a popularity contest. It's the right of all California citizens.
Nobody's rights should ever be put to a popular vote. That's why we have a court system. And that's why Diane and I are confident the court will show the courage it did when it not only ruled for marriage equality for same-sex couples but also declared that lesbians and gays were a suspect class, a legitimate minority entitled to all rights.
If the court does rule for us, tens of thousands of us will be on the streets that night celebrating a great victory, not just for us but for everyone.
But if we lose and Prop. 8 stands, even if the court rules to uphold existing same-sex marriages, hundreds of thousands of us will be on the streets, angrier than we have ever been.
The time for saying "please" is over.
Marriage equality march
When: March 4, beginning
at 5 p.m.
Where: At Market and Castro streets in San Francisco
What: Pre-march rally from
5 to 6 p.m. ; program
at California Supreme Court building, Civic Center,
at 6:45 p.m.
For more information: www.marriageequality.org
© 2009 The San Francisco Chronicle