Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No H8

LA Times
Yesterday, a panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that made same-sex marriage illegal in California, violates the U.S. Constitution. In a 2-1 decision, the majority said, "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort."


I loved this passage from the opinion about the meaning of marriage:

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not. The word ‘marriage’ is singular in connoting “a harmony in living,” “a bilateral loyalty,” and “a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.” As Proponents have admitted, “the word ‘marriage’ has a unique meaning,” and “there is a significant symbolic disparity between domestic partnership and marriage.” It is the designation of ‘marriage’ itself that expresses validation, by the state and the community, and that serves as a symbol, like a wedding ceremony or a wedding ring, of something profoundly important.We need consider only the many ways in which we encounter the word ‘marriage’ in our daily lives and understand it, consciously or not, to convey a sense of significance. We are regularly given forms to complete that ask us whether we are “single” or “married .” Newspapers run announcements of births, deaths, and marriages. We are excited to see someone ask, “Will you marry me?”, whether on bended knee in a restaurant or in text splashed across a stadium Jumbotron. Certainly it would not have the same effect to see “Will you enter into a registered domestic partnership with me?”. Groucho Marx's one-liner, “Marriage is a wonderful institution ... but who wants to live in an institution?” would lack its punch if the word ‘marriage’ were replaced with the alternative phrase. So too with Shakespeare's “A young man married is a man that's marr'd,” Lincoln's “Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory,” and Sinatra's “A man doesn't know what happiness is until he's married. By then it's too late.” We see tropes like “marrying for love” versus “marrying for money” played out again and again in our films and literature because of the recognized importance and permanence of the marriage relationship. Had Marilyn Monroe's film been called How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie, even though the underlying drama for same-sex couples is no different. The name ‘marriage’ signifies the unique recognition that society gives to harmonious, loyal, enduring, and intimate relationships.
 
I hope that this case makes an important statement to those who oppose equal rights for all people. Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated. Love doesn't discriminate, and we shouldn't either.

No comments:

Post a Comment