‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ for March 5, 2009
November 4th, 2008, was a bittersweet moment in the American history of equal rights. On the one hand, for the first time in American history, an African-American president was elected. On the other hand, it was the first time in American history that an existing civil right that was being used and enjoyed frankly, was taken away—the right to be married, which same-sex couples in California had had, and it vanished with Proposition Eight.
And today, four months after Proposition Eight passed, the equal rights movement is galvanized. Hundreds of people marching the in the streets of San Francisco last night, gathering for candlelight vigils on the steps of state buildings, protesting outside the California Supreme Court building this morning, and then huddling around JumboTron screens to witness what was happening inside.
The California Supreme Court, today, heard arguments on Prop Eight for the first time since it passed. And the legal fight here is actually very narrowly cast. The debate in the country, the debate between rival groups of protesters outside the courthouse today, that debate is very roughly in favor of gay marriage versus against gay marriage.
But if you want to smart about this and actually grasp what the legal fight is about, the fight that will actually determine whether or not same-sex couples have the right to marry in California, it‘s sort of important to get the details right here.