In a 136-page ruling, a federal judge has determined that California's ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. In what New York University Law Professor Arthur S. Leonard calls a ruling "with sweeping clarity", Judge Vaughn R. Walker, one of two openly gay judges on the federal court circuit, said:
Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.And tonight The New York Times editorialized, in part, thusly:
One of Judge Walker’s strongest points was that traditional notions of marriage can no longer be used to justify discrimination, just as gender roles in opposite-sex marriage have changed dramatically over the decades. All marriages are now unions of equals, he wrote, and there is no reason to restrict that equality to straight couples. The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage “exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage,” he wrote. “That time has passed.”With that, the gays were sent dancing into the streets knowing fully well that the ruling will most certainly be appealed by those wishing to deny us equal rights, perhaps all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Celebratory rallies are taking place all over the United States this evening. This afternoon I headed to the New York City Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan for our version of the national celebration.
I missed the political speeches and got there just as people made their way across Centre Street to place white carnations on the steps of the Supreme Court. I counted, perhaps 100+ people, but by then a few had left. I heard others say that they had estimated 200 to 300 people during the earlier speeches. A paltry showing considering the thousands that took to the streets after Prop. 8 was passed in November of 2008 which might have been the result of a hot and humid day, a rather haphazard alert network (I was surprised I didn't see info about the rally pop up more frequently on my Facebook or Twitter timeslines) or, simply, the fact that rejection of our rights angers and motivates way more people than the affirmation that, yes, we are equal to others (BTW: Mike Lavers has coverage of the rally and the speeches over at EDGE).
As you can see, I took a few photos. Additional pics can be seen here. You can probably spot a few movers and shakers, including the lovely Ann Northrop, Mr. "Equal Rights for Fairies" Joe Jervis (a/k/a Joe.My.God.) and Ruben Diaz, Sr. opponent Charlie Ramos.
What's really sweet about seeing Charlie there, as well as all the joyful marriage equality proponents, was that two years ago almost to the date, it was Ruben Diaz, Sr. himself heading to the same plaza.
Finally, one of the people I know who was not at the rally was Pedro Julio Serrano. That's because he was otherwise occupied talking on behalf of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on CNN en Español. I've got the goods. Here you go...
- NYC Celebrates Prop. 8 Overturn (Joe.My.God.)
Meanwhile, in San Francisco...
And San Diego (via Rex Wockner )...