In a decision that I find disappointing, California’s Supreme Court decided to uphold Proposition 8, thus continuing California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The one positive caveat to the decision was that the 18,000 marriages already completed in the state would remain in tact. 18,000 of the millions of gay people in California have equal rights. Yay? Oh well.
The decision ratifying Prop 8 runs in stark contrast to the apparent temperature of much of the United States, with what seems to be a domino effect of same-sex marriage legalization: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Iowa have all legalized same-sex marriage, Vermont’s law will take effect in September, and New York is (hopefully) not far behind.
The bright side of this dark decision comes twofold today. One, Judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court. A month ago, I wrote a piece for Fox Forum predicting Sotomayor to be the best choice for the position. I argued that she fulfilled Obama’s call for change, as her appointment would be a historical one (she’d be the first Latino on the Court), and her experience with community building and pro-socal work is extensive. Further, she was named a U.S. District Court judge by George H.W. Bush in 1992 and elevated to her current seat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton, giving her a bi-partisan background. She’s a liberal judge, but Obama claims that she will “interpret” laws rather than make them.
In terms of LGBT rights, Sotomayor will hopefully fall on the left. She is a self-described liberal judge who, perhaps, will take the temperature of the country and enact Obama’s message of change by bringing equal rights to the LGBT community. I look forward to watching her with a hopeful but cautious eye.
As for Proposition 8, we lost that battle. However, if I was a betting woman, I’d say that in November 2010 the people of California will strike down Prop 8 and bring gay marriage back to California. I always said that while of course I’d like to have same-sex marriage legal sooner rather than later, there is something powerful about the people overturning a law, and exercising democracy in its most honorable form.