Perry v. Schwarzenneger

August 4, 2010

By now, you’ve probably heard the good news. A federal district court in California has ruled, in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger , that Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional. 

This ruling is critically important, and not just for California. By finding that Proposition 8 would deny gays and lesbians the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution, the ruling has nationwide implications. Of course, the ruling by the district court judge will not be the final word on this issue. The ruling will be appealed and, ultimately, the Supreme Court may consider this case. But the district court has done a splendid job in framing the critical issue: Is there any evidence that would support denying gays and lesbians the same right to marry that heterosexuals enjoy? The court ruled unambiguously that “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.” In other words, a ban on same-sex marriage is based on nothing more than bias and prejudice.

We have an imperfect justice system. But sometimes it works.