Thursday, August 05, 2010


Yesterday was an amazing day. Some very cool things happened in California, especially in Oakland. Ron Dellums announced he wasn't running for Mayor again, Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional and the A's won! OK, one of these things is not like the other in terms of momentous-ness, but all of them happened all at once. I was sitting at an A's game with my dad, checked on twitter, knowing that the Prop 8 decision would be announced, saw it had been announced, checked in again to see any updates regarding stays, details, etc, saw Ron Dellums would not be running for reelection, and then the A's won. Which is pretty exciting, if you're an A's Addict, and the A's are making .500, one way or another.

Now to the second most important thing. Ron Dellums announced yesterday that he was not seeking reelection. This may be a surprise, or it may not, depending a)if you're cynical and b)if you can stand to follow news on the man (I can't). He refused to take questions, saying that he was "with his wife," which is hilarious, because it's well known that his wife is Mayor Pt. 2 of Oakland, and rumors are flying that he was scheduled to make the announcement today, but nicely tucked it in during the announcement of the Prop 8 ruling so that it would go quiet, quiet into the dark night. Most politically active people in Oakland would like to celebrate the going-away party of Ron Dellums, but are even more interested in celebrating the going-away of Prop 8. Maybe the smartest thing Ron Dellums has done in... a long time.

Now, to the real story. I mean, some politically active people, and some not politically active people (more of the latter) cared a LOT about the A's game yesterday. The A's and the Royals played a terrible game, because they are both terrible teams, and the A's came out on top. They were luckier. Two pitchers pitched well, which means Brett Anderson may really be coming back, which is good news. But really? Aside from the 20,000 people who were there, and the, oh, 10,000 more who givadamn, yeah, not news. The news, which came out at the same time, is that there is a God, and his name is Ronald Reagan. I'm pretty sure former President Reagan didn't know what he was getting into, and I'm pretty sure progressives and people who understand that civil rights extend to everyone didn't know that Ronald Reagan would be the one who moved this fight in the right (meaning correct, forward, progressive) direction, but Reagan appointed Judge Vaughn Walker in 1987 to the federal district court. In a little twist of fate, "Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, opposed his nomination because of his alleged "insensitivity" to gays and the poor." (see wikipedia.) In 1989, George H.W. Bush, a close relative of Reagan God, renominated Walker, and he was confirmed unanimously.

Yesterday, Walker's ruling on "Perry v. Schwarzenegger" (this all cracks me up, politics are a fickle game, eh?), was amazing. A giant step forward for civil rights, a giant slap in the face for a lot of well intentioned people who think some people are more deserving than others, because of, well, I'm not sure about why. I lost a lot of faith in my state when Prop 8 passed, and felt a little bit like I needed to move to Iowa or Massachusets, or... anywhere where all people were treated like people. And I'm not gay, and I don't even care about marriage that much. I'm not even sure that marriage is the right "right" to be fighting for right now. It's the fact that rights shouldn't need to be fought for. It's the fact that my idea of God, your idea of God, etc, should not stop me, you, my neighbor, etc, from doing what they should be able to do as citizens, as human beings. (On a side note, the folks behind Obama's twitter account failed to mention this momentous ruling. And another person wisely tweeted that Obama's failure to support equality is going to look mighty foolish in 30 years.) Walker laid it out that rights are rights, and all people in California deserve them. Clearly. Articulately. (In a much more gung-ho way than the A's or Dellums.) I leave you with some of my favorite parts of his ruling:

Relative gender composition aside,
same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples
in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of
marriage under California law. FF 48. Gender no longer forms an
essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of

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.

The evidence at trial shows that domestic partnerships
exist solely to differentiate same-sex unions from marriages. FF
53-54. A domestic partnership is not a marriage; while domestic
partnerships offer same-sex couples almost all of the rights and
responsibilities associated with marriage, the evidence shows that
the withholding of the designation “marriage” significantly
disadvantages plaintiffs. FF 52-54. The record reflects that
marriage is a culturally superior status compared to a domestic
partnership. FF 52. California does not meet its due process
obligation to allow plaintiffs to marry by offering them a
substitute and inferior institution that denies marriage to same-
sex couples.

Proposition 8 targets gays and lesbians in a manner
specific to their sexual orientation and, because of their
relationship to one another, Proposition 8 targets them
specifically due to sex. Having considered the evidence, the
relationship between sex and sexual orientation and the fact that
Proposition 8 eliminates a right only a gay man or a lesbian would
exercise, the court determines that plaintiffs’ equal protection
claim is based on sexual orientation, but this claim is equivalent
to a claim of discrimination based on sex.

As presently explained in detail, the Equal Protection
Clause renders Proposition 8 unconstitutional under any standard of
review. Accordingly, the court need not address the question
whether laws classifying on the basis of sexual orientation should
be subject to a heightened standard of review.

Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny
under the Equal Protection Clause, as excluding same-sex couples
from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate
state interest.

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. Because California
has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and
because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its
constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis,
the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.


建邱勳 said...


thb said...

I doubt I can say it as eloquently as your first commenter! Hey, there's no denying human rights, they are going to come to us all as long as we have a (semi) true democracy because that is what (semi) true democracy means. Some day all people can speak out for human rights, not just those of us with no political constituencies to appease...