With the amount of press coverage on Federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling on California’s Proposition 8, you probably already know that he struck down Prop 8, California’s voter approved law against same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. What you may not know is that API Equality applauded the decision almost immediately after the ruling.
If you’re still not convinced that Prop 8 should have been ruled unconstitutional, let me relay one of the speeches I heard today at a celebration rally at the Billy DeFrank Center in San Jose. The speaker was Evan Low, the current mayor of Campbell, CA. He talked about how he is a 4th generation Asian American. His great grandfather was the first to come to America and the first to be discriminated against with the Chinese Exclusion Act. He then talked about his grandfather and how he was discriminated against with laws against Mongoloids (those of Asian ancestry) from owning property, something I’ve written about myself. He then talked about how even his mother would have been discriminated against (her second marriage was to an Irish American), with the laws against interracial marriage. Finally he talked about how Prop 8 discriminates against gay Asians like himself.
While Prop 8 was not specific to the Asian community, it follows a long line of discriminatory laws that were unpopular with the current population, but overturned by federal courts. Asian Americans have a vested interest in making sure discriminatory laws don’t return, and it was obvious watching Evan Low’s impassioned speech.
Still not convinced that Prop 8 should be ruled unconstitutional? Then I bring your attention to what same-sex marriage has meant to families like my own. My partner of 8 years and I got married in August of 2008 (this ruling was a nice early anniversary present), in the presence of our then 3 year old daughter. To her the marriage made us a family. I can’t even imagine trying to explain to her why or how a law could say we couldn’t get married. Even as a 5 year old now she understands what marriage is, plays getting married with her dolls, and asks about our marriage ceremony. Marriage is real to children, and making it illegal for same-sex couples would also invalidate the meaning of family to many of these same couples who have been raising children and creating their own families.
The only down side to today’s ruling is that it’s not a final ruling, in that Prop 8 supporters have already filed an appeal, and it’s expected the final resolution will only occur with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But at the very least, we’ve moved one step closer to removing another discriminatory law.
h/t: Ernie for the API-Equality link