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One Court Can Effect the Nation

Posted by amy On March - 31 - 2009

Yesterday, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry posted an amazing article clearly defining the implications of Proposition 8, if the California Supreme Court chooses to uphold it.  Evan drives the point home that we have all said time and time again: If Proposition 8 is upheld, it sets a precedence in this country that a simple majority can vote on the rights of any minority group.  Though we keep saying this, his article sends the point home in a way that pinpoints the severity of Proposition 8.

Think about it this way: If Prop 8 sticks, then there is nothing stopping the KKK from rallying together to put something on the ballot that takes away the rights of the African American Community.  A state would be able to choose to take away voting rights of women.  Hell, maybe the next ballot initiative will be to take the LGBTQ community back to a pre-Stonewall era where we could get arrested just for holding hands with our partner!  Yes these may be extreme, but the California Supreme Court has the power to say that anyone can rally a simple majority to strip rights of any minority.  Our Constitution is meant to protect all of us… even from each other.  While many who voted for Proposition 8 did so because they felt that they were protecting the word “marriage,” the vast implications of what they perceived to be good intentions, were left in a black box only to be opened now.

I consistently come back to Jim Crow laws here; a time when a man and woman who loved each other, could not legally marry based on the color of their skin.  At the time, the same “moral” arguments were used to protect the word “marriage.”  And, as Evan so eloquently puts it:

…the “essence” of which, the California Supreme Court explained in 1948 when it became the first court in the U.S. with the courage to strike down race restrictions on marriage, is the right “to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice,” the person who to you may be “irreplaceable.” Imagine what California and our country would look like today had that court flinched in the face of the 90% disapproval of the then-majority. Imagine what the Constitution would look like if a mere majority could always cement inequality or a selective denial of fundamental rights into it, without even the procedural protection of the deliberative revision process the people themselves set forth.

So what will you do on the Day of Decision (D-Day)?  We all hope that we’ll be celebrating in the streets, but are we prepared for the worst?  If the California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, then all minorities are at risk.  Will you be ready to fight for your rights?  Will you be prepared to fight for the rights of all minorities?  Will you be ready for the next ballot initiative – The one that is in your own back yard?  Proposition 8 is not just a California issue.  It is not just a marriage issue.  And it is NOT just an LGBTQ issue!  Join the many organizations that are gathering on D-Day.  Prepare your city, your friends, your family, and your powerful voice for what might happen next.

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