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Today in My History

2000:  Where are the Heroes?
2001:  Greetings from London!
2002:  Size Really Matters
2003:  Help Wanted
2004:  Bye Bye Boise
2005:  Crème Brûlée
2006
Mothers Day
2007: It's Over with Me and Tony


IN MY OPINION
Back Roads

Books Read in 2008
 
Updated: 4/27
"Dead and Doggone"



 


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Europe vs. Italy
Ellen: The Musical
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The Engineers Guide to Cats
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Airy Persiflage

AN HISTORIC DECISION

16 May 2008

When I received several notes yesterday, from several groups, saying that the long-awaited Supreme Court decision about the constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage was scheduled to be read this morning, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Most of the messages had come from Shelly and Ellen (on several different e-mail groups) and I wanted to block off all feeling because I didn't know if I could bear to see them go through the disappointment again, to have their hopes of finally being able to marry dashed yet again.  If the Supreme Court upheld the ban, there would be no possibility of gays marrying in California.

No matter what you feel about homosexuality, just put yourself in the place of people who have been in a loving relationship for 34 years, who have raised a family together and who have vowed to stay together till death do they part, but who are told they can never marry.  They fight to prevent a proposition banning gay marriage from being placed on the ballot, but it is and by a slim margin, it passes.  Straight people have now decided that gay people cannot marry.  Then they get little sparks of hope.  Massachusetts permits gay marriage.  The mayor of San Francisco decides that it's OK for gays to marry and they line up in the rain by the thousands to be married at San Francisco City Hall.  Then straight people in Sacramento decide to make those marriage invalid. The supreme court agrees to hear arguments overturning the ban on gay marriage.  They deliberate for months.  The roller coaster continues.  One day you can marry, the next day you can't.  One day you are married, the next day you are not.  Your life doesn't change, your love doesn't change, but the government bats you around like a ping pong ball, deciding YOUR fate, letting you know what you can and cannot do about the person you love and with whom you are spending your life.

The decision was due to be read around 10 a.m, and I got on Twitter to ask if anybody was there, or listening to a San Francisco radio or television station. 

Shortly after 10 the flood of messages and e-mail began to arrive.  The vote in the Republican majority court was 4-3.

The California Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to ban same sex marriage in California. In so doing, it has become only the second Supreme Court in the United States to so rule.

The California Supreme Court today held that the California legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying.

Needless to say, there is great jubilation at City Hall, where the decision was read.  The general manager of the city's Public Utility Commission said "You wait for this your whole life," and said he planned to call his partner and say, "I love you. What more do you say on a day like this?"

The city prepares for a rush on marriage licenses.  Someone said that there will be a 30-day waiting period before marriages will start being performed.   Legal marriages.  In California

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However, even that is not necessarily a victory, as conservative religious groups are raising money to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November which would permanently ban gay marriage in California.  If the measure qualifies for the ballot and voters approve it, it will supercede today's court ruling.  "The initiative does not say whether it would apply retroactively to annul marriages performed before November." (To his credit Schwarzenegger has issued statement saying he is not in favor of overturning the judges' ruling and would not support placing a proposition to that effect on the ballot.)

Even in this wonderful moment of victory for gay couples who have struggled so long to achieve equality with their married straight neighbors, there is still the possibility that they could be legally married next month and then have the government tell them, yet again, that their marriages are once again invalid.

I honestly don't know how all these people who have been fighting this battle for so long have managed to maintain their sanity in light of this continuing roller coaster.  One day you have equal rights, the next day you don't, then you do, then you don't.  And all you want to do is stay home, mow your lawn, watch TV, and visit with your friends.  But one day you're married and the next you're not and you haven't done anything but exist.

Thank goodness in the middle of all this brouhaha, it's nice to know that there are pockets in the world where Serious Business is discussed and Important Decisions have been made.

In the middle of the war in Iraq, genocide in Darfur, global warming, rising poverty all over the world, and the fight of gay couples to achieve equality with their straight neighbors, the Vatican yesterday announced that it's now OK for Catholics to believe in alien beings and that it will not contradict a faith in God.

Whew, I'm so relived.


HELP!!!  If anybody sees anything with Ellen & Shelly's picture in it, could you please write to them at shelly@dcn.org to get their home address, if you're willing to send them a hard copy. Their photo has been in photos all around the world and they are trying to keep a hard copy of as many as they can.

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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