The Connecticut Supreme Court, as I wrote in my post of October 12, was correct to rule that denying marriage to same sex couples violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law. As Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote, "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”
This principle of equal protection means that gays have the constitutional right to marry–a right that cannot be put to a vote, as it was not in Connecticut. I'm reminded again of the expression among gay marriage advocates: "Can I vote on your marriage?" The answer clearly is no. California, Arizona and Florida allowed votes to go forward, as a result of which measures banning gay marriage passed. The biggest disappointment is California, which, despite its status as a progressive state and a cultural trend setter, passed the Proposition 8 ban.
California had already passed a gay marriage law, meaning that a right exercised by thousands of gay couples has now been rescinded. Besides the complications of their status, there is the moral and legal point made by the sign shown above: "It's wrong to vote on rights." It is not for the straight majority to "give" gays the right to marriage; that is a right they inherently possess. It is up to the Supreme Court within a state not so much to "grant" a privilege but to recognize is as a right.
The religious right was out in full force in California, working to enshrine legal discrimination against a minority group. They succeeded this time, and we are all the smaller because of it. I suppose there's some consolation in the fact that the vote against gay marriage in California was 52 percent to 48, in contrast to 61 to 39 percent in 2000. Perhaps there is a gradual movement toward acceptance of gay marriage.
If so, that would mean that this battle has to be take place state-by-state and in incrementally, until the rest of the nation catches up with Connecticut and Massachusetts. What's at stake is more than a gay right; it is a human right. Injustice scored a victory in California, Arizona and Florida, one that ultimately cannot prevail.