It's not over. Not by a long shot. But today a federal judge struck down California's Proposition 8, the 2008 statewide ballot issue that essentially made same-sex couples second class citizens. And he advanced a fairly sweeping opinion that makes a whole lot of sense.
Two excerpts from the decision stand out...
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.
Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.
Props to Judge Vaughn Walker for doing the hard work to create a fact-packed decision. This isn't some activist judge making law from the bench. This is a thoughtful, bold ruling.
As Rachel Maddow opined this evening, in this country we don't put rights up for a popular vote. Rights are not a popularity contest, where the majority gets to impose some kind of moral superiority on the minority.
Keith Olberman's "special comment" from November 10, 2008 is worth revisiting...
[h/t Barb and Pico at DK for zeroing in on the excerpts]