Friday, August 6, 2010

On the Prop 8 ruling (Perry v. Schwarzenegger)

Two seemingly-unlikely courtroom bedfellows, David Boies and Ted Olsen, speak with Rachel Maddow just after the federal court decision regarding California's Proposition 8 banning same-gender marriage

(If you've never read Ted Olson's piece "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage: Why same-sex marriage is an American value," I highly recommend it.) 

For info about the MA court case they refer to regarding the court finding the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, click here

For the NY Times basic story about the Prop 8 ruling, click here

If you'd like to read the ruling itself, click here.  I haven't read the whole thing yet, but from what bits I have read, and from the exclamations and excerpts erupting from the other end of my living room as well as the analysis I keep seeing, it's an amazing read.  You can skip the mind-numbing legalese and just read the juicy parts, which I'm told (by many friends) really are beautiful, even to the lay reader, from a legal standpoint.

If even that much legalese is too much, try starting with these two NY Times articles -- this editorial, which does some legal analysis of the discrimination angle, and this analysis article, which tackles some of the legal and judicial structure around what happens at the levels of different courts, why and when "findings of fact" do and don't matter, and why some people are so excited about that beautiful legal language I mentioned above. 

Sure, this is going to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, and sure, it might well be going to SCOTUS after that, and sure, Walker (the judge in this case) placed an immediate temporary stay on his ruling pending appeals, so nothing practical changed right away.

But none of those things diminishes my joy.  This legal ruling states very clearly that California's bar to same-gender marriage discriminates irrationally against me, and my sisters and brothers, in a way that can't be justified legally.

It states very clearly something that should be a reminder to all of us when it comes to other issues as well:

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and women.” 

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