'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Congratulations, Shelly and Ellen 

Every now and then, less and less frequently, unfortunately, there are days when you just can't help being proud of where you live. In California, today is one of those days. Earlier this morning, the California Supreme Court released a 4-3 decision to the effect that same sex marriage must be permitted under the California Constitution. Predictably, gays and lesbians responded with tears of joy.

At last, my gay and lesbian friends will no longer be implicitly ostracized as social inferiors because they cannot receive the respect that we show for straight couples. Even so, I can't resist expressing my contempt for Justices Chin and Corrigan. Both dissented on the ground that such a decision should have been left to the voters of California. Indeed, Justice Chin, we should have left it to the voters of California to decide whether people can exclude Chinese people from owning property. Indeed, Justice Corrigan, we should have left it to the voters of this state as to whether women should have opportunities in the workplace equal to those of men. Cowardice is as easily found in the California judiciary as it is within the state's political system.

Finally, on a more personal note, congratulations to Shelly and Ellen, the affection and integrity of your relationship, something that many of us experienced all along, has finally been legally recognized. I remember interviewing Shelly several years ago on KDVS, and she off-handedly did something that must have been difficult. She described how she came out by merely raising her hand to donate $20 to the effort to defeat the Briggs Initiative, a measure that would have prohibited the employment of gays and lesbians as teachers, after being exhorted to do so by Harvey Milk in 1978. That was it, I was out, she said. After the accumulation of millions of other similarly brave decisions, the world changed.

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