Sara Whitman

California: Families, No Matter What the Court Rules

Filed By Sara Whitman | May 24, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: California, gay marriage, marriage equality, Prop 8, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, Supreme Court ruling

It's quiet today, minus the cats howling at my ankles looking for food. The sun is out, and we have many projects around the house lined up. Zachary is off at a sleep over, Ben just rolled out of bed, and Jake has been watching cartoons.... Um... too long.

On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court will announce it's ruling on Prop 8. Not only do they rule on the legality of the proposition, they will rule on the thousands of marriages performed prior to the ballot vote.

I cannot imagine how it must feel to be one of those marriages today. If the court rules it invalid, that means they get to rip away the license you fought so hard to get? If they rule the marriages can stay, but no one else can get married, you are left in a freakish limbo, separate from the rest of the community?

To move through these next couple of days, trying to find some sense of normalcy, knowing a pivotal moment in the movement is about to take place?

I'm glad I live in Massachusetts. We've had our moments of holding our breath, and we're past it. I feel for those in California. Those radical Dads who are getting ready to make some pancakes for their kids, or the Moms who wish to ruin society pouring milk into the cereal bowls.

Because ultimately, regardless of what the courts rule, those families will still be families. With more or less legal protection. With more or less civil rights. But families no matter what.

I'm off to do my weekend bagel run. Ben now requires two, sometimes three bagels. I'm not sure if I should use a plate or a shovel. New bookshelves will be put up, another corner of the basement cleaned, and we'll have a family dinner at Walter and Allan's house.

Ribs. Mmmmm.

And through the day, I will think about my counterparts in California. History will be made. One way or another, though, they will all still be families. No one can take that away.


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Raymond S. Decelles-Smith | May 24, 2009 12:47 PM


Mr. President,

While you and the First Lady are enjoying the perks of Camp David with the First Mother-in-Law, please remember whose lives you are affecting by your immoral inaction. In 1996, a state Senate candidate exhibited a moral view of our constitutional rights and privileges. It is our hope and prayer that you rediscover your conscience.

Thank you for injecting calm into the growing beehive in my head, Sara.

I am in California and am married to a man and even though we do not have (nor will we have) children I feel a responsibility to those families that do. My anxiety is growing. My jaw is undeniably clenched. My teeth ache. I can't stop looking at the internet like there will be some kind of update that I need to be aware of and will miss if I don't stay tuned in.

I'm sick of these nail biting horse races. We had one here a year ago over the marriage cases. We had one 6 months ago on election day. It seems like things will develop next week that will ensure another ballot race to repeal 8 in the not so distant future. My 43rd birthday is next Saturday. I'm getting too old to be this obsessed with matters over which I have little control. But I can't let the "important gay people" run another campaign into the ground in San Francisco and sit on the sidelines while (and if) the Court affirms the majority's right to restrict my citizenship.

I attended a meeting on Friday after a long day of work with a group of 20-something non-violent activists and was inspired by their courage, commitment, organization and integrity. I wasn't the only middle aged (knock on wood) guy there, but we were in the minority.

I am looking forward to doing more than crying into a candle on Tuesday and marching on the same route that is well worn and listening to the same earnest speeches being delivered by the same earnest people.

Obedience isn't working. Civility is vital and can be upheld. Civil disobedience is called for and I'm heeding the call - for my family and many others both here and outside of California.

Separate is not equal.

The calmness of your post is welcome and needed, I think, although it almost feels like you might be trying to be proactively soften a loss. Still, I understand and agree with your point of view Sara.

I live in Michigan and despite our lovely and very politically savvy democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, my partner and I are far from having the right to marry here. And the political future in our state is in question because the next early front runner for the office is Mike Cox, our present, republican, attorney general. Mike's anti-gay. He successfully managed to get GM to drop it's program for health benfits for gay partners of employees. Our battle is uphill. Despite being a blue state, much of the rural landscape is decidedly red. Gay marriage is barely a whisp of an idea here, even if grass roots supporters remain hopeful.

Yes, families, in whatever shape or form they gather as, will remain families. The emotional underpinning of a family, however, can be extremely fragile. It seems criminal to me, and I'm sure you'd agree, to allow more instability to the climate of America than already exists. Lets hope on Tuesday that the court upholds human rights and provides stability rather than buckle under narrow minded and often religious pressure.

Separate, but not equal. I agree Patrick. I'll be thinking of you Tuesday. Tread carefully with civil disobedience, ok?

I cannot imagine a court ruling that does not go in our favor. They have already ruled once- I cannot imagine justice will not prevail.

If it does not... then we do take to the streets. Enmass. No violence. But we send a message that this is not over, and we will not rest until there is justice.

For everyone, in every state. Not just marriage, but all rights. Not just for gays and lesbians and bisexuals but for transgender people too.

Are you listening, Mr. President?

Robin Gorsline | May 25, 2009 10:16 AM

Thank you, Sara, for reminding us that under the politics lies the beautiful truth of our lives. I know many are angry at the President -- have you noticed that until recently we called him Obama or President Obama, but when we get angry with him we start calling him The President -- and I wish he would hurry things up with Don't Ask Don't Tell and I wish he would just make a personal comment about how he and Michelle don't feel threatened by the marriages of other people, instead they feel blessed -- but the reality is that we are winning and will win. And in the meantime, our lives -- as spouses, parents, families, lovers, community, church and synagogue members, neighbors, employees -- go on and it is that reality that is creating change, too. I am a political activist so am not speaking against activism and advocacy at all, but I do know that some of the greatest change happens because people keep being themselves.

I agree in that they will always be families no matter what the legal system says.

I feel that Prop 8 will be shot down. There is too much momentum with the recent pro gay marriage rulings in similarly-progressive states.