Friday, May 16, 2008

California Supreme Court Declares Marriage Legal for Same-Sex Couples

On May 15th, the California Supreme Court declared marriage legal for same-sex couples in California, citing the domestic partnership system in place in California was the equivalent of second-class citizenship and NOT the same as marriage. Couples are expected to be able to marry in 30 days! And unlike Massachusetts, couples from anywhere in the country can go to California to get married, though most of our home states aren't expected to recognize our marriages from California.

On this truly historic decision, I can't help but get excited for all my friends and fellow activists who have been working for years to legalize marriage in California. I think of how happy they were in 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom opened the doors of marriage to them, and the tears they shed when their marriages were overturned and tossed aside as if their families didn't matter. It is wonderful to turn on CNN and see so many of those same people celebrating their love as if it were 2004 again.

It is not 2004 though, and since then, many Americans have had the opportunity to see that the marriages of same-sex couples in Massachusetts have had no dooms-day affect on the country or their own marriages for that matter.

Those of us in the activist world expect right-wing groups like the Family Research Council and others to take on a MAJOR offensive in California to try to change the state's Constitution to ban marriage by same-sex couples. We will see money pour into this campaign like no anti-marriage campaign in the past because the right-wing realizes if they lose this battle, the game is over. Already, they realize they are losing the battle, and this really is their last stand.

Meanwhile, gay and lesbian couples will marry in California to celebrate their love and gain the protections and responsibilities that go with marriage. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi have said they will marry. I imagine we will see a host of other celebrities walk down the isle, but more importantly, we will see everyday people marry and gain the legal protections and respect their relationships deserve. It is the everyday people who are neighbors, co-workers, PTA members, etc. who will win over the support of Californians when it gets to the ballot box.

Thankfully, this time Governor Schwarzenegger has said he will not support a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. Let's hope many others will follow suit and do the right thing for our families in California.

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