Speaking of Women's Rights: Ride the wave: Here Comes Equality!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ride the wave: Here Comes Equality!

Last month’s Massachusetts case that found DOMA to be unconstitutional, and Judge Walker’s more recent, beautifully authored Prop 8 decision have brought about a lot of discussion on the current footing of marriage equality. There are those who think it’s not the right time for a legal challenge. It’s true that it will almost certainly end up in the hands of the Supreme Court, where a majority of support for the issue is anything but certain. There are those who rushed to the courthouse after Judge Walker’s ruling was announced, thinking that the road to equality had reached its conclusion, at least in the state of California. There are those who appreciate the statement that Judge Walker made, regardless of where the case goes from here. And then there’s Chloe who, after tolerating the recitation of my favorite parts of the Prop 8 decision, said simply “yeah, but wasn’t all that stuff obvious already?” (or something to that effect)

Richard Socarides, President Clinton’s senior adviser on gay rights, opines that both the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions “… provide President Barack Obama, a constitutional law scholar, with an important opportunity to shift his views on same-sex marriage.” “He can do so,” he continues, “by reminding people that respect for the constitution, the rule of law and the courts are the principles upon which this country was founded.” Though no one’s quite sure where the case will go from here, isn’t it possible that these rulings will have some sort of sway with politicians, as well as the general populace?

In fact, it seems to me that these legal wins are only adding strength to the string of events that have been creating a shift in the tide of public opinion. Take the Miss America Pageant (no, I’m not being ironic). The newly crowned Miss New York is running on a pro-marriage-equality platform, the very first beauty pageant contestant to do so. Claire Buffie, who is also an executive member of New York's PFLAG chapter, explained in an MSNBC interview, that ”through the Miss America organization I have an opportunity to speak about the equality and respect that we all deserve as Americans, and through (the organization) I can have a loud voice on this topic.”

Add to that Mexico City’s recent court decision finding gay marriage to be constitutional, and the passage of marriage equality in Argentina, Iceland, and Portugal, and perhaps we have the beginnings of a worldwide equality wave, that will eventually swoop up all in its path?

In the meantime, I thought this idea from my friend Eric was particularly clever: “We should campaign to have a well respected Dictionary replace the word "marriage" with a definition more in line with this conversation. Simply replace any gender references with "human." Let's just have MARRIAGE. no _____ Marriage, just MARRIAGE.”

mar•riage n
1a. the state of being united to a person. of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

Operation Merriam-Webster: Commence