As we brace ourselves for another reckoning day - the California Supreme Court's ruling in our Prop 8 legal challenge - I am appalled that our basic rights were put up for a popular vote, and fervently hopeful that the Court will do the right thing. In our democracy, respect for minority rights is as essential as the principle of majority rule.
The California Constitution prohibits the use of a simple amendment process to change the basic ground rules of our government. Therefore, before the people of California can change our government to one in which minorities no longer have a secure entitlement to equal rights, they must use the more deliberative process required for constitutional revision. That is the essence of the argument we have presented to the Court.
It is now up to the Court to decide whether it will become the first in the country to hold that majorities can strip minorities of fundamental rights.
There is so much at stake in this case, not just for the LGBT community, but for people across California. Throughout our history, the principle that laws must apply equally to all has been the bedrock of our democracy. While we have not always lived up to that principle in practice, we have maintained equality as the ideal against which our actions are measured. But if Prop 8 is upheld, it will--shockingly--enshrine inequality as a basic principle of the California Constitution and open the door to future amendments that target other unpopular minorities or that strip LGBT people of additional rights.
I am awestruck by the support we have received--43 friend-of-the-court briefs representing an unprecedented array of civil rights and religious groups, labor unions, businesses, municipalities, and legal scholars. More amicus briefs were submitted in this case than in any other case considered by the California Supreme Court. This is a testament to the strength of our legal argument and the breadth of our support. It also means that people have come to understand what is truly at stake in the struggle for marriage equality: the fundamental rights of a minority, the recognition of families, and the basic dignity and humanity of every lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender person.
We await the Court's decision with hope and determination. If the Court stands up for equality and strikes down Prop 8, it will be cause for great celebration. But if the Court does the unthinkable and permits Prop 8 to stand, we will have our work cut out for us. We have more energy, passion, and allies than ever- and we will need them if we must reverse Prop 8 at the ballot box. For now, we wait.