Same-sex marriage: Supreme Court’s big “F- You”

Pub date June 17, 2008
WriterMarke B.
SectionPolitics Blog

The remarkable logic behind the historic legal decision

By Melissa Griffin of For more same-sex marriage photos, stories, and coverage than you can shake a lesbian stick at, visit our Guardian’s SF blog.

Photo by Charles Russo

I am positively giddy! As of yesterday at 5 p.m., the California State Supreme Court’s May 15th same-sex marriage ruling took effect. The County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses at 5:01 p.m.

In this post, I’ma try to give you the basic reasoning in the ruling (which is here: Download supreme_court_opinion.pdf). Obviously, squeezing the 121-page ruling into a three-page word document necessitated leaving out a number of nuances. Specifically, I’ve tried to give you the affirmative reasoning here and will follow-up with a second piece on how the Court shot down the arguments against gay marriage.

As I walked to City Hall from the BART station yesterday to witness this marvelous moment, the first sign I saw was a large yelIow one that read “Recriminalize Sodomy.” And I had to chuckle because these folks had clearly not read the decision.

See, the California State Supreme Court’s decision contains a Technicolor “Eff You” that beats any chant or hiss I could muster. Not only did the Court summarily reject the notion that heterosexuals would be harmed by extending to gay people the right to marry, it also made quick work of the defendants’ argument that “tradition” is somehow a rational justification for preserving heterosexual marriage.

Thanks to prior civil rights movements, court cases are rife with precedent for change in the traditional way things have been done. (Women being afforded the right to serve on juries, for example.) One chant aimed at the religious folks holding anti-gay signs on steps of City Hall could have been written by the justices themselves:

“Racist, sexist, anti-gay; fascist Christians go away!”