By Julia Hotz
Tennessee vs Scopes, Brown vs. Board, Roe vs. Wade…these are among some of the Supreme Court cases that will forever ring in history as “landmark decisions;” cases that have established new legal concepts, significantly altering society’s operations, effectively summarizing the law on a particular topic. Upon recalling these cases, we can’t help but wonder what “landmark decisions” our generation will see.
Enter “Prop 8.” This controversial ballot proposition and constitutional amendment was passed in the November 2008 California state elections, and provided that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Prop 8 actually overturned an earlier Supreme Court case, ruling that same-sex couples do, in fact, have a constitutional right to marry.
On Feb. 7, 2012, the debate was reignited, as a 2-1 decision affirmed the U.S. District Court Judge Walker’s decision declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
Well, it’s about f*#%ing time, if you ask me. How many instances of injustice, indignity and discrimination must our nation undergo before we understand the true meaning of the “Equal Protection Clause,” which says that “no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”? WHAT ON EARTH is “EQUAL” about granting the freedom to marry to a certain group of people and restricting that right from another?
Oh, what was that? You say “marriage,” by definition, is the “formal union of a man and a woman.” Well, what if I told you that “voting,” by “definition,” is the “the exclusive right of homosexual men to formally express your opinion.” Would we then restrict heterosexuals’ right to vote, because the “definition said so”? Of course not, that would be discrimination. Similarly, just because the definition of marriage may technically read as “the formal union of a man and a woman,” doesn’t mean that it is right to restrict this institution solely to heterosexual men and women.
It would be impossible for our society to function if we weren’t constantly redefining words and concepts to fit our new-found understanding of what is true and what is just.
I am beyond thrilled that this unjust Proposition has been overturned.
As Judge Stephen Reinhardt stated in the decision, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California.”
Yet, much like we have seen in the enforcement of Brown v. Board, I’m sure this “landmark decision” will take much time to enforce. However, I hope that by the time I am my mom’s age, I can talk about sexual- orientation discrimination the same way she talks about racial discrimination, and say that “we’ve certainly come a long way.”