I have a new post up at Global Comment
On May 26, the California Supreme Court affirmed Proposition 8 by a six to one majority. The eighteen thousand that got married while same gender marriages were legal were issued a reprieve when the court confirmed that their marriages were allowed to stay intact. Reading through commentary from the GLB community, it is difficult not to feel empathy for the sadness and anger that this decision engendered.
“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the court’s opinion. With those words he and six other Supreme Court Justices set the framework to firmly ensconce heterosexual privilege into law. Whether or not one believes that the state should be involved in marriages or the family pairings of individual citizens, the fact remains that we have come to view the institution of marriage as a right and therefore the exclusion of any segment of society amounts to discrimination.
It does not take courage or foresight to uphold the tyranny of the majority; it simply takes a willingness to bow before power. What is the purpose of the law, if it does not protect our weakest citizens from unnecessary harm? We exist with the ideology of equality and yet fall far from practicing it in many real ways. To propose that the majority should have the right to determine the rights of a marginalized group is to ignore the fact that historically, power does not concede, it simply controls and/or consumes the weak in an effort to maintain the status quo.