4 Aug

California’s same-sex marriage ban, also known as Prop 8, has been ruled unconstitutional by a San Francisco judge.

While we certainly have cause to celebrate, the New York Times notes that this is “a temporary victory to gay rights advocates in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court.” The Daily Beast goes further in-depth about the future of same-sex marriage and why there’s no going back.

Via the Advocate, here are the words of U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker:

“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.”

BLoGT’s super-friend Tovah (also Co-President of NYU’s Queer Union) offered the following words on the decision that I thought were worth sharing:

Queers: Please don’t stop asking important questions. How does same-sex marriage reflect a narrow model of gay citizenship based on consumption, private domesticity, and homonormativity? How can we gain legal recognition of a wider range of relationships, households, and families? How can we separate benefits from martial status to provide access to vital government support programs for all people?

I appreciate Tovah’s questions because while I certainly agree that “marriage is the wrong goal,” I don’t agree that marriage equality has no place within the LGBT movement. I like the way she gets to a more substantive argument about what marriage is and what it should be. Of course marriage shouldn’t play the role of “legitimizing” queer relationships, nor should it be seen as a finish line for equality. But as it stands, marriage is they key to important government benefits for a lot of people (check out last year’s NYTimes piece on The Higher Lifetime Costs of Being a Gay Couple). Queers are not immune to these economic concerns, and questions of access are important going forward.


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