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Circuit court calls for equal rights

February 10, 2012

Rare is it when I see a court ruling and begin to hope that we will reach a resolution on the gay marriage front, especially with multiple Republican nominees speaking against it (and by multiple, I mean all).

Yet, so it was: earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court in California ruled that Proposition 8, a law that banned gay marriage in California, was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment rights of gay citizens. The Circuit Court, whose statement was issued by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, sided with the August 2010 ruling of District Judge Vaughn Walker. Walker overturned Proposition 8 because it lacked “rational basis” to forbid gay men and women from marrying.

As a proponent of gay marriage, the ruling brightened up my day because of what it could possibly herald. Should the advocates of Prop. 8 push their cause to the next step of the legal system, the case could wind up in front of the Supreme Court. Should that happen, the Court would make the final decision on whether states can ban gay marriage.

The best part of this story is the reason that Proposition 8 advocates appealed the District Court ruling in the first place: they said that Judge Walker’s decision should be void since he is an open homosexual with a same-sex partner.

That has to be why it was overturned because, you know, it’s not like Judge Walker is backed up by a little blurb in the Constitution about separation between church and state, and the main argument against gay marriage is that it violates the religious tenet that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Granted, should the case pass to the Supreme Court and they make a ruling, said ruling still has to be enforced by the executive branch (President Obama) to actually be effective. Also, if the ruling is as narrow as Judge Reinhardt originally determined, it would only determine whether or not states can legally ban gay marriage – the federal government could still have the option to instate a ban.

However, I still hope this case  reaches the Supreme Court and that it is ruled unconstitutional. Besides the satisfaction that the ruling would only be made possible due to the persistence of the people who do not want it to happen (I love a good twist of irony), it would be a giant leap forward in solving an enduring national debate.

If states cannot ban gay marriage, the argument would at least be temporarily put to rest. Call me an optimist but I don’t believe that the federal government would successfully ban gay marriage, even though gays are increasingly becoming more accepted as time goes on as the country abandons archaic biases.

Prejudice might still be there. I respect everyone’s opinion, even if I can’t see eye-to-eye with it. All I ask is one question: how does a man marrying another man, or a woman marrying another woman, directly harm you or the “sanctity” of marriage?

Cassie Burton
Staff Writer

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