Praise the Lord and pass the lube: Judge Walker sticks it to Prop Hate

By Ann Ivins

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis (italics mine) in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.

Judge Vaughn R. Walker
August 4, 2010

And this, my fundamentalist Christian fellow citizens, is precisely why you are not the boss of me, or of gay couples, or of women, or of African-Americans or of anyone but your own selves (and your children, until they escape you). Irrationality. Beliefs based on, well, belief. Faith without reason. Useful for searching souls, perhaps, and it seems to fill the plates and build the megachurches, but it’s no way in hell to run a country.

This is the United States. The followers of any given religion have the perfect right to include, exclude and vilify anyone they choose. However, their right to express their group disapproval stops absolutely short of causing their chosen bugaboo any actual harm: as in breaking the laws enacted by the larger secular state in order to protect all its citizens. Those laws, we hope, evolve in specificity and efficacy as our understanding of what constitutes demonstrable societal or individual harm evolves as well.

In fact, ignore the terrifying specter of state-sanctioned gay married love for a moment. Take a look at racial segregation, which most self-described Christian congregations have now condemned, at least out loud. Had the original Southern Baptist Convention (and by “original,” I mean the SBC from 1845 until 1995) been able to retain its grasp on the laws of the Southern states, slavery would still be legal, “miscegenation” would still be a crime and hundreds of thousands of lawn jockeys would still be on display across the land of Dixie – because the Southern Baptist Church was created specifically to support these ideas in defiance of the views of other Baptist congregations.

Sure, it took over a hundred years for things to really start to change, for enough people to admit that a union between two people of differing overall skin pigmentation doesn’t lead to apocalyptic plagues or children with multiple heads (and also that allowing humans to own other humans is a damaging economic construct, not to mention leading to some rather hard feelings in general). The parallel is still clear: in a democratically-based society, the general idea is that we don’t let one faith group dictate the law of the land in the belief that time, growing understanding and the collective better judgment of a larger pool of citizens usually works out better for everyone. When small groups, or large groups, or individual states or crazed closet cases do attempt to make it legal to tar and feather someone, we can take those cases to courts which represent successively larger segments of the population and hope that somewhere along the line, better judgment and better education will prevail.

The fact is no religion owns marriage, the concept or the reality. Each has its own variations on the theme and every right to them. Within your congregation, marry (or don’t) anyone that you like (or hate (or sadly but firmly condemn)). But as Judge Walker had the patience and guts to point out in painstaking detail: pair-bonding predates religion; stable, wealth-creating, ably-parenting households are the true and demonstrable societal benefit of such bonds; and there’s not one iota of real evidence that a pair of the same gender doesn’t work just as well. Period.

So with all due respect, and as my new favorite judge expressed much more elegantly: that long-ago talking shrubbery or flaming cow, while inspirational and possibly entirely real, is no excuse for acting like an asshole today.

11 replies »

  1. Oddly enough, too many of my African-American bretheren have also villified Gay marriage, and also GLBT rights. What separates us by definition, divides us in the heart. You make an important point….why not just see love as love? Consenting adults should be able to choose their partner, and have it protected by the constitution. The whites fear we won’t make as many babies as our friends of color so we can’t allow same-sex couples, the people of color are afraid that we will ‘water’ down their equal rights efforts if we get ‘distracted’ with GLBT folk, and the right-wing Christians hate everyone who is not like them. In my garden there are flowers of many colors. Some tall stand next to short, and some of like-kind stand proudly together. There are red ones and yellow ones, brown ones and white ones. The butterflies love them all. The hummingbirds thrive from the sweet nectar. Wouldn’t it be a boring garden if we only had white daisys?

    • One of the comedians on Last Comic Standing Monday was riffing on the civil rights vs gay rights movements and made a funny point. Perhaps an irrelevant one, but funny anyway. He pointed out that once upon a time all the furor was over blacks and whites marrying each other. The outrage then was “they can’t marry us. They have to marry each other.” With gay marriage, it’s the opposite. “They can’t marry each other, they have to marry … us?”

      Funny, funny stuff. And Judge Walker is my new hero.

  2. You. I love you. I wish I could read this from the pulpit on Sunday morning but you have a potty mouth and I’d probably get fired.

  3. All state regulated social activities are Bullshit, to steal a term from Penn. Marriage seems like a good idea from far, but with the state involved, its far from good. Do you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you need a new lawyer, a new lay, a new life? Most yes responses would come from single and married people equally, only the unwed would be able to act on that feeling. Because the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with is an asshole and you leave you get bad credit and a reputation for making bad choices in “very important” situations???( unless you can play off the divorce, but I suggest you make sure you are at least semi attractive and or wealthy to pull it off). The fact is, in our advanced age of 1960’s, 70’s 80’s era knowledge of what people really want, I would bet that most marriages are doomed, GLBT or SBC. Unless your are LDS, you are missing what all people want…respect. The kind of respect you feel from a new friend and the mutual exploration of carnal techniques and the joint relief felt in the honesty of your nudity. Frank Zappa did it best, but we all have a song to sing about being in the nude with another. Why spoil it with a state regulated guilt inducing ceremoy? The state should regulate the personalities of the people wanting to get married to make sure they deserve the punishment. Trust me, the person you love is most likely a near representation of the person you think they are, maybe even the person they think they are. So why ruin a perfectly fine relationship by introducing the law, the confusion, the pre nup, the cake, the divorce, and finally the confusion? Gay, straight, poly, bi, whatever.. people should reconsider the state when it comes to relationship choices.

  4. Woohoo! I’ve been tickled every color of the rainbow since the decision. On to the appeals…

    Speaking of: How will Clarence Thomas vote and why?

  5. Steely Dan,

    That was probably the most mysoginistic rant I thnk I have ever heard in just a few words. The enjoyment of life is based a great deal in how we choose to view anything. Clearly you don’t know how to be open and honest about what you need from others in your primary persona, so you need a fake one to speak your mind. When you find someone who fits with your heart a marriage is a learning experience and a blessing every day. You should be single if you are that unhappy. My guess is that your spouse or partner mirrors your unhappiness. Maybe you are not so ‘stud-ly’ yourself. If you are hiding such emotion I would bet it is coming out sideways, and your need for sex with multiple partners would suggest you have not found your emotional, spiritual and physical equal. Life is not this dismal, but you have certainly made it so. I do agree with you about one statement where you find wisdom. Everyone should think through their decisions, because one aspect of life should never be so important we lose the blessing in others. My partner is precious to me, and I hope you can find one that means that much to you as well. A good friend of mine is grieving the slow decline of his father who goes to sleep every night holding hands with his wife of 55 years. The potential of this much love is worth the pursuit of the legal acknowledgement. Blessings to you, my unhappy friend.