Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's 10:30 AM (PST) In San Francisco. Do You Know Where Your Marriage Rights Are?


Live blogging is very difficult, especially when you've got to follow something like Prop 8 in California. But it's got to be done. The news has hit the streets and reactions will be analyzed.

Ad infinitum.

But first, a message from our sponsor: marriage equality

There's no doubt about it: marriage equality is the defining issue of the culture war as it stands. Not even abortion comes close. A panoramic view of how widespread it has become is needed:

There are six states, one district and one Native American tribe that recognize same-sex marriages: Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon, Connecticut, District of ColumbiaC, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont

There are five state that recognize civil unions: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island

There are nine states that recognize domestic partnerships: California, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin

There are nine court cases pending on marriage equality:
California (federal appeals court), Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina
There are nine proposals/laws pending involving state legislatures:
Colorado, Iowa (proposed repea) Maryland, Montana,New Jersey, New Hampshire (proposed repeal) Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia [civil unions]

Marriage equality is on 5 state ballots: California (maybe), Maine, Minnesota [constitutional marriage ban]
North Carolina [constitutional marriage ban] and Washington (maybe)

National foes of marriage equality include: The American Family Association, The Family Research Council, the Catholic Church, Focus On The Family, the Mormon Church, The Southern Baptist Convention, National  Organization for Marriage (NOM), Concerned Women of America, the Tea Party. 

Prominent politicians and political figures against marriage equality: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Phyllis Schlafley, Sam Brownback, John McCain, Chris Christie, 

Prominent religious figures opposing marriage equality: Pope Benedict XVI, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, "Bishop" Eddie Long, (prophet) Lou Engle, (historian) David Barton, Ken Copeland, Pat Robertson (700 Club), "Bishop" T.D. Jakes, Robert Jeffress (First Baptist, Dallas), Richard Land (Southern Baptist Convention).  

Chief media against marriage equality: FOX News, World Net Daily, most Rupert Murdoch-owned media.


The California Proposition 8 saga will go down in history as one of the defining issues of our times: it consumed all of the culture warriors in the country, because: "as goes California, so goes the country." The state of California is the largest (population-wise) in the country (nearly 10%) and the sixth largest economic entity in the world. Whatever the Right/Christian Right says about California and its components (e.g. "Hollyweird"), it cannot deny California's influence...and the thing it hates about California the most: its diversity. California is everything to everyone. 

When Prop 8 first reared its rather ugly head, the nation saw just how powerful - and desperate - the Christian Right was to maintain control over marriage laws: for the first time, one state's proposition drew (massive amounts of) outside money and people were bused across state lines to help with the campaign. Notable figures like Rick Warren filmed public service announcements. Battle lines were drawn. Prop 8 banners were either displayed prominently ... or vandalized. 

"That was four years ago, this is now."  

Guess again. The climate of pro-marriage equality in California may have significantly changed (54% now approve of same-sex marriage as opposed to only 48% in 2008), but sentiments have gotten stronger .. on both sides, each one vowing to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a fight to SCOTUS, to be sure, and any wounded animal in the battle will be incredibly difficult to fend off. 

Don't Forget The Technicality:

Today's decision was NOT about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. It was about UPHOLDING the RULING by Judge Vaughn Walker AND it was about the standing of a judge who ruled about Prop 8's constitutionality simply because he was gay. It adds to the confusion and the drama of an already legendary battle for rights. Elation in the decision will be ephemeral as well as disappointment. 

In other words, we're just looking at a dress rehearsal. And compared to what's ahead, a high school dress rehearsal at that. 

Thanks and a hat tip to Marriage Equality U.S.A. for providing the legend pictured below.