Equal rights got a shot in the arm earlier today when San Francisco Federal Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, declaring that the ballot initiative outlawing gay unions in the Golden State violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. While conservative and pro-traditional-marriage (whatever that really means) supporters have already vowed to appeal Walker's decision, for a short period of time, it feels good to be on the winning side of a decision.
In his ruling, Walker made a fundamental statement:
"The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples."
If you break opposition to gay marriage down to the simplest of terms, people object to homosexuality on moral and/or religious grounds. And because people are morally opposed to and/or offended by homosexuality, they don't believe that gay people deserve the same rights that straight people do. But to base the granting of rights on the moral and religious objections of a group of people (even if they are the majority) goes against the very premise of separation of church and state that our nation was founded on.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, given its liberal leanings, is expected to uphold Walker's ruling, thus setting the gay marriage battle up for a showdown in the Supreme Court, and some believe the conservative Roberts-led court may very well side with the "traditional marriage" supporters. But that decision is a ways away. For a brief moment, it's nice to revel in the fact that our country took another step toward emulating so many others, allowing all of its citizens the same rights.
The right to love the person you choose, while not in the Constitution, is one of the most fundamental of all, so it's nice that we can all have that right protected, even briefly.