Friday, May 16, 2008
Back in the Green Room, we eventually got a copy of the opinion online. One hundred seventy-two pages ! We knew the outcome, but how did they get there? Skimming, skimming, skimming. Were there any caveats? More skimming.
Finally, on page 121, a signature. Back up to the conclusion. Ah, there it is:
Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union & ldquo;between a man and a woman & rdquo; is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
No limits. No caveats. Full equality as long as the loving couple never leaves the borders of California, and/or catches direct flights to Massachusetts.
Make no question about it; in my book this is a big day. As an attorney, as a gay man, and as a Californian this is a big day.
Today, the number of Americans residing in states granting full marriage equality jumped from about 6.5 million to about 43 million. This is one of those days where the grandkids will be asking 'where were you when you heard,' and I'll be happy to continue to reminisce fondly of KPBS and their & comfortable Green Room even in my twilight years. &
California has been a leader in marriage equality since outlawing racial barriers to marriage in 1948. Gov. Schwarzenegger has already commited to supporting the Court's ruling, and fighting the proposed constitutional amendment that could attempt to reverse the ruling in the November election.
Personally, as far as California is concerned, opposition will sooner rather than later be viewed as anachronisms to an earlier time, like Montgomery's Sheriff & ldquo;Bull & rdquo; Connor and Alabama Gov. George Wallace during the earlier civil rights battles of the 1950s and 60s.
Sen. McCain has issued statements indicating he supports the right of California to determine this issue at the state level, even though he didn't think the decision should have been made by judges. I haven't yet seen any case specific reaction from Senators Clinton or Obama, but both are on record as opposing marriage equality while supporting separate-but-maybe-equal civil equivalents. It will be interesting if those positions hold and the Republican governor and presidential candidate end up supporting this outcome in November's general election.
Regardless, I think the California November election just got very, very interesting.
-Citizen Voices blogger Chuck Hartley is an attorney who lives in Escondido.