A Step Forward…

Well it is official:  A Federal judge in San Francisco has declared the vicious anti-gay measure called Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  For most of us in the LGBT community this has been a long-awaited moment that has left not a few of us with a very bitter taste in our mouths.

For this is an initiative that should NEVER have made it onto the ballot.  It was so clearly unconstitutional on its face that it should have died a quick and painless death at the polls.  And the reason that it did not is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The LDS Church poured $17.67 million into the campaign to support this measure, according to the Advocate.  The Church “encouraged,” pressured, threatened, and blackmailed its members into donating thousands of dollars (proving either that Mormons are very wealthy or that they will gladly go into debt if the Church says so).  Why such a clear violation of the separation of Church and State went un-challenged is beyond me.  At the very least, the LDS Church should lose its tax-exempt status.  Permanently.  If they want to pour money into political causes, they can Goddamn well pay taxes like everyone else.

So where do we go from here?  To the Circuit Court, of course; this is not by any stretch of the imagination the end of the fight.  And if they end up appealing this thing all the way to SCOTUS, which could very well happen, we are probably looking at a minimum of five years before the final word is heard.

Am I happy about this decision?  Of course.  It is not only correct, it is on point.  Prop 8 is unconstitutional because it violates our right to equal protection under the law as provided by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.  As long as marriage equality is denied to us, we remain second-class citizens, ineligible for over 1,100 rights and responsibilities that a straight couple gets the moment they sign the marriage license, and vulnerable to all sorts of discrimination.  Yeah I know, the President has ordered hospitals to permit same-sex partner visitation and decision making, BUT.  Most people who go to visit someone in the hospital know that the first question they get is “Who are you?”  And NOTHING answers that question with the same finality as “I am his husband/her wife.”

In the wake of the Clay Greene/Harold Scull case, as my husband and I move more firmly into middle-age and will be facing the questions that the elderly face sooner than either of us would like to think, it terrifies us both to think that at the end of our time together, when we will need each other more than ever, some outside agency could come in and pull us apart.  This could never happen to a married couple.

The Prop 8 case has also brought to light one of the ugliest truths about the United States:  The LGBT community is the last group that in some “respectable” circles it is “okay” to discriminate against.

I am not forgetting what has happened in Arizona, and the clear racism underlying SB1070, but when there is a question of legality, it tends to give credence to their arguments (even though their excuses are piss-poor and the racism so obvious that a five-year-old could see it).

In the case of the LGBT community they don’t even have that as an excuse.  We are doing nothing illegal, there isn’t a reputable doctor or psychologist who would make the claim that we are in any way mentally ill; we are, in fact, discriminated against for no other reason than some people think that we are “icky.”

As I said, I am not unhappy about this decision; in fact I am celebrating.  But I am not so naive as to think that this means the fight is over, and neither is most of the rest of the community.

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