Thursday, September 08, 2005

Terminating Equal Rights

Should I now introduce Mr. Egg to Mr. Face? Not long after my last post, where I trumpted the value and virtue of gay equality through legislative processes rather than judicial ones, the Governator strikes down via veto the California legislature's marriage equality bill. It's a matter for the courts or the people, he insists. (This, of course, runs contrary to what Dubya has been telling us, which is that it's a matter for the legislature. Make up your minds Republicans.)And, oh, hey, Arnold, legislators are the voice and will of the people - they are the people's duly elected officials designated to speak for them.

Despite what Arnold says, he's no friend to gays. He clearly doesn't respect our rights or equality as fellow Americans (many, if not most of us, naturally born Americans, Mr. Naturalized). He should be bold enough to just admit it instead of pretending otherwise.

I still don't think I'm wrong in my earlier assertion, however. This is slow and tedious work. Part of the backlash we experienced was because of the amount of progress we made in a very slow time (as well as how that progress was made). Arnold shouldn't have rejected the bill; I suppose not enough legislators voted for it to override his veto? Or do things work that differently in California? In any case, the trick will be to keep pushing it through. Yes, I want equality and I want it now, but that timeline has a cost that may be too heavy. Even if we get "it" now, if it's rushed through without adequate support, we could lose it later or lose out in other arenas. And just because a law is passed, doesn't mean it's always enforced. That's why we need proper support and the time to create support.

I certainly don't believe that minority rights should be put before a vote of the people. Why would the majority grant you access into their club? Why should they let you into their swimming pool? This is what legislative and, yes, court action is for.

I don't mean to say that courts have no place in this process. They certainly do and they've certainly made a difference, but we can't have all of our decisions finalized this way. In California's case, since the governor is leaving it to the courts, that may be a proper venue for the courts to decide. I still don't think that's the best place for it to happen, but California may have just proven there's enough home support so that backlash is minimized (at least in-state). Still, a court decision would be just the rallying cry, much like Massachusetts's case was, for the far right nationally.

One solution, not so out there, is to remove Arnold and elect a governor who will do the right thing and sign the bill. That would certainly speak volumes about how the people of California feel about gay equality.

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