This is just a quick post to note a few things that are interesting to me about the exciting judicial decision that came out of California on Wednesday.
- First of all, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's decision was the absolutely right and obvious one, ruling against California's Proposition 8, that made gay marriage illegal.
- Still more exciting is the fact that his "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" offers clear and emphatic articulations of why it's unconstitutional, unfair, oppressive, and illogical to make gay marriage illegal. I may well teach parts of this text in classes in the future.
- For example: "The tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not further any state interest. Rather, the evidence shows that Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based only on antiquated and discredited notions of gender."
- Or how about this: "Moreover, the state cannot have an interest in disadvantaging an unpopular minority group simply because the group is unpopular."
- And this conclusion: "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a 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. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
- And how about the fact that the academic work of feminist scholars is important in legal cases like this? Who knew that feminist historian Nancy Cott's research would be of interest to anybody not in the academy? Her quotes are all over the "Findings of Fact" document!
- Finally, I'm very excited to share that one of the people who made this possible, who did countless all-night research projects, who sat in the courtroom for days and days and days hearing Proposition 8 proponents make loads of homophobic arguments, and who helped to construct the argument that has definitively won the day, is my cousin, Sarah Piepmeier. I learned a lot from her during the New Haven weekend I've blogged about (and if I get her permission, perhaps I'll tell you some things). I'm so proud!