Dana Rudolph

Prop 8: The Think Positive Edition

Filed By Dana Rudolph | May 28, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, carlos watson, Dan Savage, Mark Morford, phyllis lyon, Prop. 8

The blogosphere is awash in news and analysis of Prop 8. I'm working on a more thoughtful piece of my own, but in the meantime, I wanted to highlight a few of the more positive pieces I've found. Call me an optimist, but I do believe in that bendable arc of the universe.

First, lesbian-rights icon Phyllis Lyon wrote in the LA Times, before the decision was announced: "I'm optimistic about the future. Look at all the states that have now done this. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. They may not all last. But it's going to be all right. It may not be while I'm alive, but eventually it will work out that if two people want to get married, they can get married and it won't matter to whom. We went through this before with people of color. It will be OK."

Columnist and gay dad Dan Savage reminds us: "We witnessed an eighteen point shift in favor of gay marriage in California in just eight years. We can move another four points. We just have to stay in the fight and remind ourselves and each other that we are winning."

Mark Morford of SFGate.com suggests that we "Ask the various wary, bepimpled youth of Generation Tweet what they think about those scary gay people getting married," and predicts: "Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's a done deal. It's just a matter of time. For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same. It's just obvious, inevitable, a given."

Carlos Watson of The Stimulist offers his thoughts on "How the Prop 8 Ruling Will Help Gay Marriage." He writes:

In my mind, it's not that different from Plessy v. Ferguson's tragic "separate but equal" ruling that confronted my great-grandfather and millions of other African-Americans looking for simple equality in the late 1890s.

But despite this backward decision, I am optimistic--and it's not because I'm writing for the Optimist's Daily Brief. I believe the ruling will hasten national acceptance of gay marriage.

Finally, for all you law geeks out there, Radical Russ at Pam's points out a very interesting Daily Kos diary by lawyer Seneca Doane, who says that while we didn't win, the other side lost. How? The Court "unanimously upheld the substantive fundamental right" of same-sex couples "to [have] every single advantage that heterosexual couples do." Doane notes that the decision "does not even say that these legal relationship aren't marriages. It just says that the voters decided that in California, if they occurred after a certain date, we aren't going to call them that." Furthermore:

If you look at who won and who lost today, we lost something emotionally important and our opponents, the people who paid for Prop 8, lost almost everything of substance. In time, they will realize that the battle was really over In re Marriage Cases [last year's case that first legalized marriage for same-sex couples], and they got their butts kicked.

So, while I'm disappointed, I'm no longer outraged. It's hard to be outraged when a unanimous California Supreme Court just reiterated that California law gives every couple regardless of gender the fundamental right to be married in fact, even if voters have messed with the labels. Our opponents lost more today than we did.

It's an interesting argument and worth reading in full.

Although I want to be positive, I also want to acknowledge the pain and loss of so many in the LGBT community, especially those in California. My thoughts are with you.


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Thanks for your thoughtful post. What I am wondering is, if Seneca Doane's analysis is correct, that the California court held that same-sex couples still have the right to every single right that opposite sex couples do, how do you claim these rights? I do not think that they are all enumerated in the current California Civil Union law. For example, do persons in a civil union get to own real estate as " tenants by the entireties" like married couples do, protecting all their real estate from creditors, and saving all kinds of taxes at death and on transfer????? When I last checked a few years ago, the answer was no.

Thanks for your thoughtful post. What I am wondering is, if Seneca Doane's analysis is correct, that the California court held that same-sex couples still have the right to every single right that opposite sex couples do, how do you claim these rights? I do not think that they are all enumerated in the current California Civil Union law. For example, do persons in a civil union get to own real estate as " tenants by the entireties" like married couples do, protecting all their real estate from creditors, and saving all kinds of taxes at death and on transfer????? When I last checked a few years ago, the answer was no.