California matters

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 21, 2008

Not immediately, however: the California court made clear that this ruling applied specifically to California’s constitution, and to the specific conditions at hand. Specifically, that the state had enacted legislation to make same-sex civil unions as identical as possible to hetero marriage, withholding only the title. Although it does not say so explicitly, the ruling strongly suggests that this nearly there equality was, in fact, an argument for demanding total equality.

California could perhaps argue that homosexuals are, and should be treated as, second-class citizens, the majority says. But the state has instead made clear its desire to treat homosexuals with equal dignity, rights, and opportunity. Well, the court seems to be saying, if they deserve equality, then the state has to really give it to them, without hedging. No “marriage lite” — and, by extension, no “equality lite” of any kind.

Apparently those two lifelong champions of equal rights, Obama and Clinton, disagree. As California moves forward and, inevitably, brings the rest of the country along with it in accepting marriage equality, maybe our political “leaders” will follow their constituents to the same conclusion.

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