I'm surprised a thread hasn't been started about this already, but I have a few thoughts I'd like to share, and get other peoples opinions on:
I want to start by saying that I'm very pleased by the Prop 8 decision today.
I read the majority of the 136 page decision (small for what it covers) and a few things stand out at me:
1) The Attorney General of California actually declined to defend the amendment stating that the amendment is unconstitutional.
2) Of the 6 expert witnesses that the defendants attempted to bring, only 2 made it as far as the trial, and of those one was found to be not credible - mostly on his inability to present a reasoned argument, which most of the time actually agreed with the plaintiffs.
3) The Judge presented a well reasoned and well put together argument.
However, there's a few things that I want to say to all my gay brothers and lesbian sisters:
1) This is far from over. The judge has placed an injunction on gay marriages in the state until an appeal is decided on. This _WILL_ be appealed. It will go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then eventually to the Supreme Court. Until the Supreme Court rules on this, everything will stay exactly the way it is now. This is going to take another 18-24 months to be over, if not longer.
2) This is the one I feel most strongly about. I have seen a lot of comments today from friends, from friends of friends, and random strangers making insulting, obscene, or personal attacks against people who are upset at today's decision. And honestly, this makes me sadder than the fact that those people who voted for Prop 8 to begin with.
There is a time, and a place, and this is neither. The vast majority of people who voted for Prop 8 are no different than the vast majority of people who voted against it. They're all individual people, all with different reasons for voting the way they did.
Some probably didn't care one way or the other, and just flipped a switch. Some people were probably confused by all the rabid propaganda and militaristic force that BOTH sides were campaigning for this issue. Some people are just scared of change. Some people are working under the negative stereotypes that started in the late 70s. And some honestly looked at the issues, searched their hearts, their minds, and their souls, and made the decision that was best for them. And ALL of these reasons apply to people who voted BOTH sides.
And yes, some are rabid religious nut-jobs (and let's face it, some are anti-religious nut-jobs with an equal amount of crazy at the other end of the spectrum) who want to destroy everything that doesn't match their world view. But I honestly believe that the number of people who voted through the haze of religious nut-jobbery (or anti-religious nut-jobbery) are far outnumbered by normal people trying to go about their lives as best they can. And some of those normal people today are upset because their vote got overturned.
They feel betrayed by the system. They see "liberal" judges making decisions that go against what they voted for. Few of them are going to sit down and read a 136 page decision. They're going to get their news from CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or their local news station. And all they are going to hear is "Prop 8 was overturned." They're not going to find out that the expert witnesses for the defense agreed on almost every point with the prosecution. They're not going to understand what "Equal Protection Under the Fourteenth Amendment" means. They have a family, and a job, and are struggling to make ends meet, and then they're going to hear this little sound bite of news, and they're going to lash out, because their lives aren't going as well as they'd like, and there is so much that's out of their control every day, and some of them are just going to snap and be angry and write nasty notes online because this is something they can be angry about that won't affect their day-to-day lives.
And I understand it. I felt that way when Prop 8 passed to begin with. But you know what? Now is not the time for us in the gay community to lash back and say "Hahaha, I told you so." or to hurl insults back. If there was ever a time to be gracious winners it's now. Step back and say, "I understand how you feel." Express sympathy toward what they are perceiving and gently educate them on how the process actually works. Show them the 14th amendment and explain the role of the Judge isn't to act against the will of the people, but instead is to ensure that the laws that the people are passing work within the frameworks that our nation is built around. Also explain that this is far from over, and it could still go either way.
Hurling insults and obscenities back at these people - be it the religious nut-jobs or Average Joe off the street - does more harm to our cause at this stage than good.
That's not to say that I don't look forward to the day when (and if) I have a boyfriend I want to make my husband.