Friday, May 16, 2008

An important win for the good guys

Today the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on marriage equality in that state. Gay men and lesbian women in California will be able to marry their same-sex partner. I was kind of optimistic that this would be the ruling, but after so many setbacks and disappointments, it couldn’t be counted on.

The radical right—that alliance of political and social wingnuts and far right christianists—will, of course, go absolutely batshit crazy over this ruling. Being angry is what they’re best at, after all (in fact, I don’t think they’re happy unless they’re in a frothing rage at something or someone). They’re organising for a ballot initiative that, if adopted, would enshrine bigotry into the state’s constitution. But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has pledged his opposition to the amendment, which is similar to another conservative California Republican: Ronald Reagan, ex-Governor of California and soon to run for President, defied the religious right and opposed the viciously anti-gay Briggs Initiative in 1978.

All this matters because as the most populous US state, California often sets trends that eventually find their way into the other 49 states. Once marriage equality becomes just another part of the California landscape, it’ll be much easier for other states to abandon the hate and paranoia of the right.

It’s sometimes said that one can oppose marriage equality without being a homophobe. In theory, that’s true, but in practice, it seldom is when you’re talking about public opposition. The people who are leading the charge against marriage equality are the same ones who spout lies and hatred against gay and lesbian people. The leaders against marriage equality are obsessed with the issue, and with gay people generally. They’ve made themselves enemies of freedom and the core conservative value of limited government. Real conservatives understand this and wouldn’t go to the barricades over the issue, and they certainly wouldn’t try to enshrine their view into a constitution, as the radical right wants to do. But real conservatives are seldom heard, though Schwarzenegger may start a trend.

Some observers worry that this ruling—and an initiative on the November ballot—might energise the far right. They worry that while a pro-bigotry initiative on the California ballot won’t hurt Democrats in that state, it might threaten Democrats in other states.

But the far right and the Republican Party will attempt to use and demonise gay people regardless, and whether or not their pro-bigotry amendment gets on the California ballot. They would have done so no matter how the court ruled. In fact, they’ll demonise a lot of people as they try anything to keep power; gay people will be just one of their targets.

So this is an important ruling, and an important win for the good guys. For too long the radical right has dictated public and social policy in the US. It’s about time that ordinary Americans got their country back from the far right ideologues who’ve been trying to destroy it and what it stands for. This is one step; the November elections offer the chance for another one.

Update: As expected, John McCain who, just like George Bush, opposes marriage equality, condemned the ruling and lent his support to the pro-bigotry amendment in California. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support civil unions, but have said that marriage itself should be up to the states to decide for themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? The people backing the traditional Republican position are both Democrats. The Republican candidate, meanwhile, backs the radical right incarnation of Republican principles that have ruled the party for many years now. “Different kind of Republican”? Nope. McCain isn’t even a real Republican: He’s just the same as Bush-Cheney.

1 comment:

d said...

I remember a day long ago when McCain supported gay rights (saw him on the Daily Show). *sigh*

In any case, that is awesome news from California! Who knew Ah-hold would actually be a fair leader? Even for a Republican?