I have a new favorite author.
Justice Vaughn Walker and his clerks produced 136 pages of legal genius that can be read as a series of goose bump-inducing poetry. The decision, which finds Proposition 8 unconstitutional, is a Popeye-strong document that was built to survive.
You would be hard pressed to identify a favorite line in this sea of brilliance, but there is one part that moves me more and more each time I read it. In Walker’s conclusion on page 135, he writes:
“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.”
This word crystallizes why I find opposition to marriage equality so troubling. When people think they are being fair-minded by expressing support for civil unions, because “marriage should be between a man and a woman,” they are most definitely saying that their relationship is superior to others. They deserve something that others cannot have. Their religion tells them that their love is better than mine.
In essence, Proposition 8 and similar ballot initiatives flat out asked voters if they wanted to let the minority into their exclusive marriage club … and for the most part, they said “No.”
The idea of superiority makes it increasingly infuriating that there still are so many so-called progressive leaders who do not support full marriage equality. Even as the White House made a statement yesterday outlining President Obama’s opposition to Proposition 8, an anonymous White House aide reiterated that the President is still not on board with full marriage equality.
Pam Spaulding summed up the ridiculousness by saying, “Yes, we have a biracial constitutional law scholar for a President who still believes that ‘god is in the mix’ and that separate is equal when it comes to marriage.”
Mr. President, I’ve asked you before and I will ask you again: Do you feel that your relationship with Michelle is superior to my relationship with my husband? Does God bless your relationship more than mine? When your heart goes pitter-patter when Michelle enters the room, is it somehow more real or more special than when mine does the same? Is the lifelong commitment of love you made somehow more deserving of respect than the commitment I made?
I don’t mean to single out the President, because obviously from our ballot initiative record, there are a lot of people who feel exactly the same way he does. Many of those minds will change over time and the superiority complex will lessen, but the truly exciting part is that because of yesterday’s ruling, we will hopefully never again have to be subjected to the tyranny of the majority at the ballot box.
Photo credit: vaXzine