Today, the California Supreme Court issued their opinion on the question of standing to appeal the Ninth Circuit Court’s Prop 8 ruling. Judge Walker ruled against Prop 8, and because the California state officials refused to appeal the decision, it appeared as if it was dead. But this is California, where the entire initiative process is quite strange! The US Ninth Circuit sent the question back o the California Supreme, to determine if the citizens who started the initiative had standing to appeal instead of the State officials.I wrote about this yesterday- there were reasons to see that this could go either way. Today’s decision opened the door for the anti-gay citizens to appeal Walker’s decision.
Most discourse surrounding this will focus solely on thee issue of Marriage Equality, as if it were this sterile “concept” that happens devoid of circumstance. But the Prop 8 issue is not devoid of circumstance, it grew within the unique environment of the California state and its initiative system. California as a state is considered both as a bed of progressiveness and also a state of conservatism. Those characteristics coupled with the flow of Mormon money and all the fear mongering which it produced resulted in Prop 8. And any real understanding of the continued process must be done with all of that in mind. The linked post from Box Turtle Bulletin does a pretty good job at that:
Of course in my heart I wanted today’s ruling by the California Supreme Court to go differently than it did. But in my head I had little doubt about the outcome. In ruling that Prop 8 proponents have legal standing to defend their handiwork in court, the court established a precedent that upholds the spirit of California’s system of initiative and referendum. It also, if taken to what I believe should be its logical conclusion, can become a starting point for reforming some of the worst abuses of California’s initiative process by holding proposition supporters accountable for the propositions they’ve foisted on the state.
While I believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer people deserve full and unconditional equality, I also accept that such equality is an utter and massive cultural shift from the current socially (and legally) acceptable homophobia. A change in a law will not convert the culture entirely on it’s own. The anti-gay crowd know that they are losing the battle, but it isn’t over yet, and their newest tactic is to paint themselves as the victims. If they can promote the (false) argument, that the LGBTQ community wants to silence everyone else, they have a chance of turning public opinion against us.
I also do not personally believe that Marriage Equality is the moist important issue facing the whole of the LGBTQ community, but it is a perspective of Equality that has moved out into a public conversation more than any other issue. And so, no matter what happens with Marriage Equality, it will either push full equality farther along or hinder our progress on all fronts., so it impacts every single member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer communities.