Wednesday, January 27, 2010

impatiently waiting

If I were a better blogger I'd have been posting more than bimonthly lately, but we've already discussed that, and I can't go back in time. Let's just leave that one alone.

However, there is a subject somewhat near and dear to me that I've neglected to discuss, and that is a certain trial that is happening right now in San Francisco. Saying it's happening right now isn't really as accurate as it could be.

Today is the last day that the two opposing sides will call or question witnesses at which point the judge will take a few weeks to mull it over. Apparently then there will be closing arguments and then at some point a decision by the judge.

Do you remember when California legalized same sex marriage? Yeah, I don't really like the term either. I prefer marriage equality because that's a more accurate desciption. Either way, you either remember or you don't. If you don't remember then you may also not remember that, soon after, Proposition 8 was introduced because the "will of the people" needed to be heard. Of course that meant leaving the rights of a minority to the whims of a majority.

Yes, those are scare quotes around "will of the people." There's a point at which the will of the people erodes civil rights and makes things worse. You may not remember, and I am certainly not old enough, but there was a time when a certain group of people in this country were treated like absolute shit. Because of the color of their skin they were assumed to be lesser people. They were not allowed to use the same facilities or eat in the same dining rooms as white people. The language many white people often used to describe this other group was inherently demeaning and dehumanizing.

It took a huge court case and a lot of blowback from racist whites, but eventually the laws were changed to allow all people to recognize that they were equal and deserving of the same rights, protections and responsibilities. There was a whole nother trial years later in which laws were finally changed that allowed people of different colors and racial backgrounds to get married. Of course the people opposing this also didn't think of themselves as racist or bigoted or prejudiced, but they fought it just as they had every single piece of legislation that attempted to enforce the idea of true equality.

It wasn't a huge percentage of people that got prop 8 passed, but they did, effectively taking away the right to marry for same sex couples, aka the gays.

The ongoing trial I mentioned above is actually known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, but since the governor of California isn't soiling his hands with it, it's commonly known as the Prop 8 trial. Basically, the idea is that it wasn't cool for a bunch of religious types to decide that their ideals are allowed to trump civil rights in a nation in which we insist on a separation of church and state, that the church isn't allowed to use it's beliefs or doctrines or scriptures to set civil law.

The thing is, if it IS okay for religious organizations to decide what is or isn't civil law, then where do we stop? Do we take the Christian's word for it that the US is a nation based on the exact sect of Christianity of which he or she is a member, or do we incorporate all religious belief, giving as much credence to Hindu beliefs as we do Judeo-Christian?

Anyway, I'm sitting here, drinking my coffee, thinking about breakfast, and waiting somewhat patiently for today's updates. 10:19 here means 7:19 there, and the trial won't be starting for the day for at least another hour. It isn't televised, and you can't catch it on YouTube, but there are people liveblogging, and I've been keeping up at Courage Campaign's trial tracker.

It hasn't all been fun, but if you have a few free hours any time soon you might enjoy looking over the posts and updates that have been posted over the last couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering where you were reading liveblogging of the trial. Thanks for the link - though reading updates will probably put me in a sour mood, I imagine.

contemplator said...

It's really fascinating to watch that trial. I don't know if people really understand that we are in THE civil rights battle of our time. This is something our grandkids and great-grands will look back on and go, "What were they thinking? They were really stupid back then." Just like we do now about whites who were down for Jim Crow laws.