Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Same-sex marriage case in California & acceptance

Soon we will know the verdict in the PERRY v. SCHWARZENEGGER case in California which could overturn Proposition 8 — the effective ban on same-sex marriage — in the state. Closing arguments are slated to be made today. Regardless the decision, the case will go on eventually to the Supreme Court.

Of course, I hope all this ultimately comes out in favor of equality, but I actually think our odds of overturning these invidious constitutional amendments which prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriage and deny same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws in most of the country would probably be best achieved if we lose this case today.

For all the fear that some pro-equality groups are having now that too much of the population is still opposed to same-sex marriage and thus could affect the Supreme Court's decision against us, we should keep in mind that when anti-miscegenation laws were overturned in 1967 in LOVING v. VIRGINIA, national polls indicated some 76% of the population were opposed to interracial marriage. That's higher than the current national opposition to same-sex marriage.

I think we also need to keep in mind that while we can and should change laws to reflect egalitarian principles, we can't legislate acceptance. I hope to be married someday, and of course for this it needs to be legally recognized. But I also want my marriage to be generally respected among my peers as it would be if I were in an opposite-sex marriage. That is going to require far more acceptance of homosexual relationships than currently exists.

I think we, as homosexuals, need to do our part to convince the rest of society why we should be judged by the content of our character as individuals and couples, and I think we can do this in part by showing that the nature of most of us is in fact good; the nature of our relationships, healthy. As a community, we need a hell of a lot of work in that department. For this, we need to be willing to face uncomfortable truths and take real responsibilities. If we can't manage that then, as far as I'm concerned, we don't really deserve legal recognition nor general acceptance by society.