Well, it’s official, Prop. 8 is history. Hopefully, for good. Today U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and violates the United States Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws.
Given the roller coaster we have all been through with marriage in California and Prop 8, it is hard to put in words what this victory means. It is surely among the most personal and profound wins for our community. Judge Walker’s ruling eviscerates the baseless and empty arguments of our opponents. Walker found that there was simply no credible, rational, believable, or persuasive reason to take the right to marry away from same-sex couples. Our opponents had a team of very fine lawyers, and at the end of the trial, the evidence they presented in support of Prop 8 made abundantly clear that other than discomfort or hostility, there is no justifiable basis for excluding us from the same right to marry that’s enjoyed by every other couple in this country. This groundbreaking decision upholds the rights of liberty and equality that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and affirms that the law cannot treat people differently based on who they love and that a majority cannot strip a minority group of its fundamental freedoms at the ballot box. But more than that, the ruling elevates the central reason same-sex couples wish to marry, because we are in love with a person special to us and with whom we want to share our lives, just like everyone else. So at its most basic, today’s victory is about humanity, dignity, and love. It is hard to accept that there is such fierce opposition to that.
But there clearly is, and while we should savor today’s victory, this is just another step in our journey to full justice and dignity for our lives and our choices—including the freedom to choose whether and whom to marry. We must continue to reach out and have conversations about our families and our lives with our friends, our loved ones, our allies. By sharing our stories, we win the hearts and minds of others who may not share our views, and create a world where all families are valued and respected as fully equal.
We need to show the federal courts that America is ready for LGBT people to marry. Everyone has a part to play in making that happen. Get involved in your own community. Engage your friends, co-workers, and family in conversations about what full equality means to you and your family. Contact your statewide LGBT groups to find out what you can do to advance marriage equality where you live. This is a victory we must preserve and keep. But you can wait until tomorrow to do that. For today, just be grateful, proud, and happy.