Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In This Case, the March Of History Goes Forward, Thank God

Yes, yesterday's SCOTUS ruling killing off voting rights was a huge bummer.

Today, the Supreme Court rulings - in separate decisions - that the federal DOMA and California's Prop 8 were unconstitutional turned into a major gain for civil rights.

In truth, the SCOTUS rulings are not a final say on the matter.  Overturning DOMA meant civil unions were possible and that states that passed same-sex marriage laws could uphold them, it didn't grant gay marriage rights across the nation.  And the Prop 8 decision was that the persons who brought suit to the Supreme Court - third-party groups that backed the referendum, not the state of California itself - did not have legal standing to do so.

Still. This is a great day to be Pro-People.  Play on, Don Coates:

I haven't read any of my fellow writers yet, but I did want to take a moment to say how important this moment is in the war against inequality. I was tempted to say "social inequality" but in America, there simply is no real way to separate the social, the political and the economic. When the larger country decided to stand aside as South Carolina went about the business of disenfranchising half its citizenry, the weapon was political, but the implications were economic and social. With no access to the franchise, black people lacked the means to protect their wealth. The poverty of wealth which befell them then reinforced their status as social pariahs, and their status as social pariahs reified (sp?) the racist justifications for their disenfranchisement and the inglorious cycle was complete...
It must never be forgotten that in America, the right to marry is the right to protect one's family. Certainly the pictures of same-sex couples embracing and hugging warm the heart and are a powerful weapon in country that prides itself on fairness...
The state repossessing a couple's wealth because it finds them icky, is wholly unjust. It recalls a particularly horrible aspect of slavery--the assault on the families of people deemed to be outside the law. There is a particular war here, which better people than me can speak to. But power is at the core of the long war which began sometime in the mid-17th century with the passage of the first slave codes. The prohibitions against same-sex marriage are not simply about witholding the right to be pretty in a dress or dashing in a tux (though I would deny no one their day.) It is about ensuring that only certain kinds of people, and certain kinds of families, are able to amass power, and with that power, influence over the direction of our society...
It is wrong to strip people of wealth because you are bigot. It is wrong to strip people of the right to name their caretakers because you are afraid. It is wrong to make war on people because you can not get over yourself. And though today we may say that we have advanced, through much of this country, the wrong continues unabated...

The fight's not over, I'll agree on that point.  But this is akin to winning Gettysburg: there may be another two years of war but the end - marriage equality - is in sight.  And as we advance on these rights, making them stronger and making our nation stronger, we can keep fighting for all the other rights - the right to vote, the right to earn a fair wage, the right to live healthy - that are self-evident (Yup, I'm enjoying that phrase).

So let the celebrating begin!
Yeah, that's right.  Even the heteros can gay-marry now.  Deal with it, Mr. Huckabee.

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