Analysis of Yesterday’s Prop 8 Decision

I am short on time right now so I’ll refer readers to Ari Ezra Waldman’s excellent piece at Towleroad.

The general consensus seems to be that the court rendered a relatively narrow verdict.  My instincts tell me, however, that even if the sole effect is to strike down Prop 8 and allow same sex couples to marry in California, it’s still a big deal.  The nation’s most populous state, what happens in California will effect other states and the Federal government.  

Same sex marriage is a big deal once it becomes established law in California,  California has nearly 38 million residents.  States in which same sex couples can marry (soon to include Washington by all appearances) would account for nearly 80 million residents (38 mill in CA, 20 mill in NY, 6.8 mill in WA, 6.6 mill in MA, 3 mill in Iowa, 3.6 mill in Connecticut, 1.3 mill in NH, 600k in Vermont).  Add in the Civil Union states of Illinois and New Jersey and you’ve got another 20 million people (there are other states that allow civil unions).  Broadly, we’re seeing a move in which more and more Americans live in states in which same sex relationships are granted legal status.  The logic of the yesterday’s ruling suggests to me we’ll see more states that allow civil unions or domestic partnerships move toward marriage simply because there’s no rational reason to deny marriage if you grant something that is marriage in all but name.

At some point, the Federal Government will have to move on this issue and with a huge number of Americans accepting same sex couples and living in states that grant legal recognition to same sex relationships, I doubt the Federal level will hold the line against same sex marriage.  DOMA will most likely be struck down (testimony in favor of it certainly betrayed animus toward gay people); at a minimum, the federal government will have to recognize same sex couple are legally married and treat them equally with heterosexual couples.

Marriage equality is fast approaching a tipping point (though we may in fact be past that tipping point as surveys have shown slim majorities favoring gay marriage; for a long time sizable majorities have favored some sort of legal recognition of gay couples).  Conservatives are going to man the barricades.  We’ll hear screaming about activist courts.  We’ll no doubt hear daffy talk of stripping courts of the ability to rule on anything having to do with marriage.  But, American culture has moved on this issue and is moving faster and faster.

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  1. #1 by brewski on February 8, 2012 - 4:47 pm

    Polygamists are celebrating everywhere.

  2. #2 by cav on February 8, 2012 - 4:50 pm

    A stable of foxy chicks. Yea!

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on February 9, 2012 - 8:45 am

    Before the Prop 8 fiasco, I was in favor of civil unions (a half measure, I know). But when Prop 8 interest groups like the Roman Catholic Church and the LDS Church actually stripped Californians of their constitutional rights, that was the tipping point for me. Marriage equality is the issue now.

    I am really unhappy about any legislation or proposition that takes away rights we already have as Americans or citizens of a state. Why restrict freedom, when our country traditionally advances freedom?

  4. #4 by cav on February 9, 2012 - 9:26 am

    This much I can say: I’m diverted. OWS who? Endless war…fooie. The demise of the Constitution…please, my crocuses are pushing up.

  5. #5 by brewski on February 9, 2012 - 9:51 am

    Why does the state marry anyone and why does the state grant rights and privileges to married people over single people? I’m for equality too. Get government out of the business of marriage and granting privileges.

  6. #7 by Richard Warnick on February 9, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    It makes sense that Moon Nazis would have the coolest spaceships. Too bad they couldn’t get a better Sarah Palin (Tina Fey or Julianne Moore). BTW I wonder if the Moon Nazis will make an appearance this year at CPAC?

  7. #8 by cav on February 9, 2012 - 4:54 pm

    My bit these days is – if we’re (any of us, but mainly the GOPers) going to be promoting fraudulent, poisonous assertions, we might as well have some fun.

    And sometimes I think many of the pubs have come to the same conclusion. It’s gotten to that point.

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