Edie and Thea in the 1960s
A few of you have asked what I was going to write about Edie Windsor, so I thought I'd go ahead and post what I wrote, even though it's kind of incomplete.
The day before the Supreme Court arguments, I dreamed about them. For some reason, they were taking place in a high school gymnasium. And one of my biggest heroes (who was involved in the case, but didn't actually argue it) was arguing on behalf of Windsor. My parents were in the audience for some reason, and so was I, but I didn't seem to have a seat, and kept darting about the folding chairs to get a better view.
If you follow the case at all, you probably know some of the details: Edith Windsor's 40-year relationship with Thea Spyer, her longtime care of Thea after Thea was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the financial blow dealt to her after Thea died (because their marriage--in NY and Canada--was not recognized by the federal government).
Edie and Thea in the 2000s
When I think about how hard it was for me to come out in the 2000s, and how much anti-gay rhetoric I heard as a kid, I'm especially amazed by women like Edie and Thea, who were out and proud when it was much harder to be.
Regardless of how the case comes down, I'm overwhelmed by my gratitude to Edie Windsor and the many others, young and old, who have been fighting this battle for a long, long time.
Butch Wonders is teaming up with the Campaign for Southern Equality
and a few other folks to host a March Madness NCAA tournament for charity! Here are some deets:
- $10/bracket to enter (it will be for the regular tournament. Maybe we'll also do something for the men's tournament--not sure yet)
- No limit on number of brackets
- Proceeds will be split between: (1) The winner(s); (2) The Campaign for Southern Equality; (3) An LGBTQ organization chosen by BW readers.
- You don't have to know anything about basketball to enter. We may even have a prize for the best "themed bracket" (where you pick the winners based on some arbitrary-but-amusing trait, like how cute the mascot is or how many of your exes attended the school).
So what I need from you
is a suggestion for a great LGBTQ organization this tourney could benefit. Please put your suggestion, and your reason for thinking the charity is awesome, in the comments.
On Monday, I'll post a poll based on your suggestions, and BW readers will get to vote on which charity we'll support!
More details to follow. I'm looking forward to your suggestions! (And if you feel compelled to tweet this, which I hope you will, use #mad4equality.)
Big news: the Supreme Court just agreed to take on two BIG gay rights cases this term:Case #1
involves the so-called "Defense of Marriage" Act (or DOMA), which is the federal law that says that even if your
state allows gays to marry, married gays don't get federal benefits like Social Security or the ability to file joint tax returns. This case isn't about whether states
have to legalize gay marriage--it's about whether if
a state recognizes a gay marriage, the federal government has to play along. Case #2
comes out of California (see my previous post explaining gay marriage in California
for background). It deals with Prop 8, the ballot initiative whereby those lily-livered California liberals voted to amend their state constitution
to take away same-sex couples' right to marry. In this case, the Supremes could hand down many possible rulings, some of which would affect only California, some of which would affect the whole country, and some of which would kick issues back down to the lower courts.Neither of these cases necessarily has national implications for gay marriage (though they could--#2 especially), but they are still both Very Big Deals, particularly if you share my belief that gay rights isn't "just another issue." I'll wrap it up here and write more later, as this all develops. Here are some links to media coverage of the issue:What do you think about the Court's decision, dear readers? Are you optimistic?
Possibly the most depressing "welcome" sign in the history of the world.
As if that wasn't bad enough, one of the council members explained that he didn't want Grand Island to become "gay-friendly." Riiiight. Like all the queers were suddenly going to flock to Nebraska if this thing passed.
So I have an idea. I would LOVE to mess with them by showing them how doggone gay Grand Island can be. If you're in Nebraska (or anywhere near it), I would LOVE for you to drive to Grand Island and do or put something super gay and rainbow-y in front of their stupid-looking "welcome" sign.
In fact, I would love to do this for ANY city that's passed anti-gay ordinances, or that has refused to pass laws giving --gasp!--equal rights to LGBTQ folks. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of other cities we can target. What are they? And should we plot to get back at them by fomenting a big ol' pro-gay movement with them at the center of it? E.g., Grand Island is for (Gay) Lovers? What do you think?
"Sure, I'm for gay rights, but I'm voting for Romney."
"I don't agree with him on gay marriage, but overall, I agree with his values."
"Gay rights is just one issue; I'm looking at the whole picture."
Each time I hear a statement like this, it irks me anew. But why? Do I really think my right to get married is more important than homelessness, health care, or the economy? Geez, I don't think so. But even if I didn't disagree with Romney on these issues, I'd have a hard time voting for him.
The crux of the problem is that for me, gay rights isn't "another issue," but a prior question--that is, a question that has to be answered before another one can be asked. For example, if I ask, "What kind of cookies should we make?" I've already answered (or implied the answer to) the prior question of: "are we going to make cookies?"
To discuss issues with someone, I have prior questions. A central one is: are we equals? I am using "equals" in the sense of people who see each other as people, discussing and exchanging ideas--in the "all people are created equal" sense. Does the person value me and consider me valid as a human?
To me, someone who does not believe in equal rights for gays and lesbians sees me (and/or my behavior) as subhuman. They do not believe that my full, real self is equal to their full, real self. They do not see me and my life the same way they see themselves and their lives. For this reason, the answer to the prior question of whether this is a person with whom I can engage in rational debate is "no." If you don't see me as your equal in terms of the human rights I deserve, it's very, very difficult for me to think you're worthwhile to engage with about anything else.
This doesn't mean that someone needs to think I'm awesome, or love my choices. I think some people make terrible choices or are cruel people. But this doesn't mean I think they deserve fewer rights than I do. I dislike people who objectify women, but I would not favor a constitutional amendment that denied them the right to get married or prevented their partners from getting health care.
And this, dear readers, is why gay rights isn't "just another issue" for me. Is it for you? Have you ever heard people say the things I quoted at the beginning of this post? How did you respond?
If you're like me, you think that the Republican Party's stance on civil rights issues makes lesbianism as compatible with Republicanism as horseradish is with chocolate. But the Log Cabin Republicans
disagree. They're a national organization of openly gay GOP members who want to strengthen the Republican Party, limit government, promote free markets, and
advocate for LGBT equality.Intrigued, I contacted Log Cabin and asked for an interview with a member. I soon heard back from Casey Pick, Programs Director at the organization's national office, who is an out butch lesbian. She graciously agreed to an IM interview for BW, which I've printed here (edited only for length and clarity). Unless otherwise specified, her answers are hers alone and not that of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Pick in action, undeterred by injury
BW: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk to me. I really appreciate your time.
CP: Absolutely. I enjoyed reading your blog earlier, so I've been looking forward to this.
BW: Thanks for reading! I'd love to start by asking a little about you. You're in your late 20s, and a graduate of UCLA Law School, is that right?
CP: That's correct. I'm a proud Bruin, and a licensed attorney in the state of California. Now I'm the programs director for the National Log Cabin Republicans.
BW: Have you been a Republican since you were young?
CP: No, I became a Republican in college, shortly after the 2004 elections. That's quite a story.
BW: I'd love to hear it. I was guessing that you've always identified as Republican, then came out later in life as a lesbian.
CP: I'd always been pretty moderate, but sort of a "Democrat by default," especially after I realized my orientation in high school. But when I went to college at Claremont McKenna
, I started to really define my political views, discovering that I was much more of a national security hawk--I was strongly affected by the 9/11 attacks--and that I really did believe in a free market and conservative political philosophy.
BW: That's interesting.
CP: But still, I was more concerned about gay rights than party politics, so I didn't make the change until two big things happened. CMC invited Patrick Guerriero, then Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans to speak, and I really admired the work he was doing to change the party from within. The second thing was when I watched Democrats, after losing in 2004, start blaming Kerry's loss on LGBT people, and talking about how the Democratic Party needed to get in with religious voters.
Casey Pick in her lez-baru
BW: What was the political climate like at Claremont McKenna?
CP: CMC is a special place. It is one of the only schools I know of where the student body splits pretty evenly into liberal/conservative/independent, and we've been called the most political campus in the country. Add to that a really strong emphasis on leadership and studying government, and you have a politics wonk's dream!
BW: Did you grow up in California?
CP: I was born in CA and lived there until my mother decided to go to law school when I was 10 or so. We moved to Iowa, but I kept going back to CA during the summer, so it never really stopped feeling like home.
BW: I bet you miss it!
CP: I do! I've got plane tickets in hand for a trip to Palm Springs this summer, actually.
BW: So when you began to ID with a conservative political philosophy, did you feel tension between your sexual orientation and new political leanings?
CP: Given that it was 2004, and I had just watched 11 states pass constitutional amendments banning marriage equality, I knew there was work to be done in the GOP. It was very important to me, knowing that I was a conservative at heart--and also a newly born-again Christian... it was an intense time - it was important that I use my ability to speak, Republican-to-Republican, evangelical-to-evangelical, in order to change hearts and minds for equality. I was going to be a Republican, but I wasn't going to abandon my pro-equality principles at the door. And frankly, I believe the GOP's core principle of freedom and individual liberty is entirely in line with LGBT equality.
BW: Did your Christian beliefs cause any tension re: your sexual orientation?
CP: I became a Christian after really getting to know and love some of my evangelical neighbors at CMC, so they knew I was gay and welcomed me from the start. I will say that my orientation, and a long fear of Christians/God, made it harder to accept my faith, but now I reconcile the two happily, and enjoy helping others do the same. It's a theme in my life - I like to be a bridge.
BW: I agree that freedom and individual liberty is in line with LGBT equality. But I'm skeptical of the idea that freedom and individual liberty are in line with the Republican agenda. Economic freedom and deregulation, yes. Social freedom, no.
CP: Well, there are many Republicans who believe, as Vice President Dick Cheney said, "freedom means freedom for everyone" - and on issues like LGBT liberty, more Republicans are coming on board every day.
BW: More may be coming on board. But in absolute numbers, it still seems low compared to Democrats.
CP: The LGBT community has spent a long time investing in and educating the left side of the aisle. I find it unfortunate that we've conceded territory on the right for so long that now Democrats sometimes take our votes for granted. Log Cabin Republicans is working hard to do much of that same work on the right, and it's bearing results - I'd point to important votes on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, or to marriage in NY, WA and NH as examples of where hard work pays off.
BW: But if the Republican Party really believed in getting out of our personal lives, wouldn't they be totally accepting of LGBTQ folks?
CP: We have to remember that the movement for LGBT equality, slow as it may seem, has actually moved very fast. As a matter of political philosophy, conservatives tend to be more cautious of social change in general, and the reality is that a large portion of this nation is still coming to grips with what it means for gay people to be out, proud, and forming families.
BW: But if conservatives supposedly care about personal freedom, why do they tend to be cautious about social change?
CP: A lot of times, what is marketed as change - as in, say, a "hope and change" agenda - is really about giving government more control. At the same time, it's about the law of unintended consequences - if we change this, what happens next that we can't see? This is the academic, geeky butch coming out in me - it's Burke, Hayek, that kind of political philosopher that says beware radical changes, and to a lot of folks, LGBT rights still seem radical. But as people learn that we're just like them, interested in going to work, raising our families, sometimes serving our nation in uniform - the more they learn that, the less radical we seem and the more progress we make among conservatives.
BW: The fact that we have to "convince" Republicans that we're "just like them" suggests to me they DO care about getting into our personal lives.
CP: It isn't so much about your personal life as about what society looks like as a whole. Conservatives often believe that a self-governing society, one which can maintain a high level of freedom, requires strong families and other private institutions to provide stability.
BW: The values you're articulating sound more Libertarian than Republican.
CP: The GOP, like the Democrats, isn't a monolith. We're a coalition which includes your libertarians, your national security hawks, your social conservatives, and so on, and we don't always agree.
BW: The idea that strong private institutions should be a source of social stability is another place you and I diverge. I'm wary of the idea that private institutions--that are hard to hold accountable--should be a big source of social stability. Look at outsourcing. I'd argue that insufficient regulation is why we have such a withered manufacturing base.
CP: And I'd come back pointing out that we have some of the highest corporate tax rates and most burdensome regulations in the world. I think we'd enjoy a debate over a couple of beers.
CP: Btw, I enjoyed reading your field guide on types of butch lesbians--I'm going to be thinking about that for awhile!
photo credit: Amy Walter Beisel
BW: Thanks. Do you ID as butch? Which one are you?
CP: I'm slightly on the butch side of the spectrum. All about holding open doors, being protective, and let's just say not a lot of work got done during the women's NCAA basketball tournament!
BW: Okay, back to The Gays: What’s your reaction to Obama’s stance re: gay marriage?
CP: Obviously it's tremendously significant, and having the president on the right side of this issue is in the nation's best interests. That said, Americans can be certain that the President would not have made this decision at this time if it were not in his best political interests. ...the trap is laid for any Republican who responds with intolerance. I think a lot of Republicans know this, which is why you're seeing a pretty mild, measured response, particularly from people like Speaker Boehner and Governor Romney, who is only bringing it up when asked so far.
BW: Do you see gay rights as a states' issue?
CP: I will say I was very disappointed in the timing of the announcement. I was on the ground in North Carolina working against Amendment One, and I know that there were a lot of people there who were hurting at that defeat, who are asking now why the president couldn't have come out for this one day sooner, which it might have made a difference for them. So while I'm happy he's finally caught up to Dick Cheney on this, in a way the timing of it just made it bittersweet.
BW: Do you agree with Cheney that it's a states' rights issue?
CP: Log Cabin Republicans are working hard to pass a federal employment nondiscrimination act and other important legislation for LGBT Americans at the federal level - but we do sometimes make the argument that the federal government should show more respect for the states. To conservatives, it is a strong argument to remind them that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was actually an unprecedented intrusion on states' rights, and that today it is actually working in an anti-federalist way by allowing - forcing, even - the federal government to ignore marriages in states like New York and New Hampshire where the state has decided to grant marriage rights. If we treated marriage like a states rights issue, we'd be recognizing those marriages today for purposes of federal benefits like social security and taxes. That said, we do agree with former Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson that marriage is a fundamental freedom due to all Americans, gay or straight.
BW: Ted Olson is an excellent advocate. Do you think it would hurt Romney politically if he came out in favor of gay marriage? Or, put differently, do you think that the Republicans have basically given up on getting the gay vote?
CP: There is a growing number of Republicans leaders who are aware that campaigning on marriage, or even appearing antigay in any way, is a losing strategy for the GOP. I'd point you to an article in the Washington Post
which shows more and more Republicans strongly encouraging the party to take a more modern stance on these issues. That said, social issues activists like the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council aren't going away just yet.
BW: It must be annoying to you that so many visible Republicans are so anti gay rights.
CP: It isn't just about the gay vote at this point - those gay voters have friends, family, co-workers, and polls are consistent in showing that moderates, younger voters and women are inclined to support equality. It's a growing voting block to be taken into consideration. It's frustrating sometimes, not just because as a gay woman I find some of what is said offensive, but also because I think that kind of rhetoric is harmful to the Republican Party.
BW: You think Romney would lose votes if he came out in favor of equal rights for LGBTQ Americans?
CP: I think there are some measures Governor Romney could comfortably take to reach out on issues of equality, including support for employment nondiscrimination. On marriage, I think he has stated his position and intends to stay with it, though Log Cabin Republicans have informed him of our disagreement and strong desire to see DOMA repealed.
BW: Do you foresee Obama repealing DOMA if he's elected again?
CP: The question is whether I see him investing significant political capital to move DOMA repeal through Congress. Given his anemic efforts on DADT repeal and broken promises on the federal contractor executive order against employment discrimination, I'm not optimistic.
BW: [Sigh.] Me either re: his political capital. [Though I'll definitely be voting for him come November.]
CP: See? Not only is a lesbian Log Cabin Republican not a unicorn, I'm also not crazy!
BW: You've been super generous with your time. A couple more questions?
BW: I listened to another interview with you, and the interviewer was literally yelling at you for being a gay Republican. Do you get that a lot?
CP: Especially this week! Our statement
in response to President Obama ruffled a few feathers. But yeah, there are plenty of people who don't understand how a person can stay in a party where there is significant disagreement on something as personal as marriage and families. I remind them that I am a multifaceted human being who cares about a lot of issues; that somebody has to be willing to speak with the right side of the aisle if we're ever going to truly win equality; and that it's my party, too - I'm not about to be driven out of it or told I can't be a Republican. We won't have real freedom as LGBT people in this country if there's still the idea out there that your sexual orientation dictates your politics.
BW: To me, civil rights are so personal that it would be hard to be a member of a party whose official platforms suggested that I was inferior.
CP: Civil rights matter to me, too - that's why I do this work. I think the most important battleground for equality today is with people who disagree with us, and if I have the knowledge, perspective and, frankly, stubbornness to have those conversations, then it's my job to do so. Log Cabin Republicans are unapologetically Republican and unapologetically pro-equality, and that's why I'm proud to be a member.
BW: Although I disagree with you in many ways, I'm glad that there are people like you in the Republican Party.
CP: We need folks on the left pushing Democrats, too, so if you're not a Republican, you've still got work to do. I'm happy to work with other advocates to get things done. Log Cabin works with Freedom to Marry, Immigration Equality, Servicemembers United, GLSEN, to make equality a reality.
BW: Here's a question I know a lot of readers are wondering: does being a Republican affect your dating life?
CP: Being a workaholic political activist affects my dating life!
BW: I can just imagine it. Candlelit dinner, romantic music... then all of a sudden, you say it: "Honey, I'm a Republican." Do you encounter a lot of women who are just like, "I totally don't get you."
CP: To be honest, yes- there are some folks who find it a turn-off, who think I must be self-loathing or fundamentally greedy, willing to trade equality for tax cuts. For others, it's not the Party, but being deeply involved in these issues. Thankfully, it rarely gets that far - when the answer to the question "so what do you do?" is "I lobby Republicans for gay rights," that screens out those types pretty effectively.
BW: I bet. Do you prefer to date other Republicans?
CP: Lol! If that was my criterion, I'd be in trouble. I prefer to date people who are passionate about whatever they believe in. Clearly I'm comfortable with liberals and have plenty of lefty friends - I don't discriminate.
BW: Who's your dream woman? Ann Coulter? Rachel Maddow?
CP: *shudders* No thank you.
BW: Shudders to whom? Both of 'em?
CP: Pretty much, though Rachel has her moments.
BW: LOL--if she was a conservative, you know you'd be all over that.
CP: No doubt! Sadly, she's not so fond of Log Cabin types.
BW: Maybe she'll invite you on her show one of these days.
CP: I think I'd enjoy that conversation - sparks would fly, just not romantically!
BW: Well, I should wrap up, but just want to say thanks again. It's been fun talking with you, Casey.
CP: Anytime - it's been a nice break.
BW: Good luck.
Do we want state involvement in this? How much?
First, suppose that there was no such thing as state-sanctioned marriage. No tax benefits for being married, no deductions, no implications for social security credits. Instead, marriage would simply be something that people do privately to announce their commitment to their friends or their church or their family or their God. There would be no legal implications for this, only psychological and emotional ones.
Taking the government out of our private lives would have implications for family structure, too. There wouldn't be tax deductions for having kids, for example. Why should the government give people a financial incentive to have a particular family structure?)
Instead of making sure that your employer gives you leave if you have a child (biological, adopted, whatever), the government could make sure that everyone got a certain amount of leave time to do whatever they wanted. If you want to have a kid, great. If you want to write a novel or volunteer at the local animal shelter with that time instead, great.
It's not that people with families would be "punished;" it's simply that family-related activities wouldn't be privileged
over other activities. Similarly, the Family Medical Leave Act
(FMLA) could still exist, but it wouldn't just be to take care of a family member. Instead, you could use it if you needed to take care of anyone
who was sick, even a friend.
I can imagine downsides to this approach, not to mention logistical difficulties associated with a lack of default rules about various matters (e.g., who can visit you in the hospital). Health insurance could be problematic, too (though, uh, if we gave everyone health care, this wouldn't be an issue...). But there's no reason we couldn't find solutions to these problems.
Since, statistically speaking, most people benefit from the laws and policies and practices that endorse particular family structures (and particular activities related to the creation and maintenance of these structures), I doubt that the government is likely to disentangle itself from these anytime soon. But when we talk about whether gay marriage is worth fighting for, I can't help but wonder if these fights are beyond the point. As long as marriage remains a government creature, I will remain fully dedicated to marriage equality. But maybe the real problem is that the government rewards and incentivizes particular ways of living over other ways, calling the structures it endorses "American values," and implicitly branding all others deviant. If this is so, it is a problem that goes well beyond gay and straight.
I'll be interested to know what you think about all of this, dear readers. Should marriage be a government creature at all? At the very least, I think it's worth pondering.
Lately, I've been pondering the whole idea of marriage as a state creation, and the government's involvement in family structure. First, let me be clear: I'm just trying this argument on for size; I'm not entirely convinced it's right. But as a thought experiment, follow me down this road for a minute. Imagine that the government was no longer in the business of sanctioning any family structure at all.
As most readers have heard, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court's ruling on Prop 8. I know it's hard as hell to keep track of all the cases and ballot measures (let alone understand them), so I've written a step-by-step guide/timeline that you don't need a JD to understand.
State and federal courts: the basic setup
First, California state courts have three levels:
1. Superior court (lowest level, where trials happen)
2. State appellate courts (also called "district courts;" middle level)
3. California Supreme Court (highest level)
Then we have the federal courts. Three levels there, too:
1. District courts (lowest level, where trials happen--not the same as #2 above, despite the name)
2. Federal appeals courts (also called "circuit courts," middle level)
3. U.S. Supreme Court
The California Supreme Court interprets California laws, deciding whether those laws violate the state constitution or the US Constitution. When it comes to the California Constitution, the California Supreme Court gets the final say. But not so for the U.S. Constitution; the federal courts get to have the final say over that.
So it's important to understand that there are two kinds of "constitutional" violations that people talk about--the state constitution and the federal constitution--and a different set of courts gets the final say over each one. Understanding all this will make it easier to follow my breakdown. Okay, here you go:
California Gay Marriage Timeline
2000: California voters pass Prop. 22, which is a state law saying that "marriage" means one man and one woman.
2004: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issues same-sex marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite Prop. 22.
Anti-gay groups file lawsuits in SF superior court (state trial court), saying that Newsom's actions were illegal and the marriage licenses are invalid. Newsom says that Prop. 22 is unconstitutional, and that it's not illegal to violate an unconstitutional law.
2005: The SF superior court says that Prop 22 is illegal. Outlawing gay marriage is gender discrimination. The anti-gays immediately appeal to the state appellate court.
Before the state appellate court decides anything, the California legislature passes a bill saying same-sex marriages are allowed. But a few days later, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoes it, saying the court should decide.
2006: The state appellate court overturns the lower court's decision. It says that preventing gay marriage is not gender discrimination, that the state's interest in protecting the "traditional definition" of marriage is valid, and that the definition of marriage shouldn't be decided in court. Of course, the gay rights lawyers appeal (those activist gays!) to the California Supreme Court.
2007: The California legislature passes another bill allowing same-sex marriages. Schwarzenegger terminates this bill, too (HAHA, get it? 'Cause he's the TERMINATOR!? Ha… ha?).
2008: The California Supreme Court rules on the Prop 22 case, saying that marriage is a fundamental right, and that voters can't just sweep it away. After all, what if people voted to take away the freedom of speech? You can't just "vote away" a fundamental right. You have to actually amend the state or federal constitution.
So… the anti-gay folks do exactly that, and propose an amendment to the state constitution. (California lets its state constitution be amended by popular vote.) This is what's known as Prop 8. It's different from Prop 22, because Prop 22 was just a law; it didn't change the state constitution.
Prop 8 passes. The California constitution now says that "marriage" means one man and one woman. (Interestingly, this means that trans people who legally change their sex can get married, as long as it's to a person of the opposite sex. Hmm... a rare case of trans "privilege!")
2009: Gay rights lawyers file a suit in federal district court (the lowest level of federal court) saying that the California constitution now violates the US Constitution. (See, states can say basically anything in their constitutions, as long as it doesn't violate the US Constitution.) So that's how a state decision got into federal court.
2010: There's a trial in federal district court. The judge (Vaughn Walker) rules that the state has no "rational basis" for denying a right (marriage) to a particular group (gays). Even though sexual orientation doesn't get special constitutional protection under the law like race and gender does, you can't single people out for no good reason and deny them a right.
Anti-gay groups appeal to the Ninth Circuit (the federal appeals court), saying that Judge Walker got it wrong, and that there are good reasons for denying marriage to gays. They also say that since Walker is gay himself, he was too biased to hear the case.
2012: Today's decision: the Ninth Circuit upholds the ruling. They say that Judge Walker was fine to stay on the case (duh). The big question is whether there was a rational reason to take away a right from a specific group of people. The decision goes through all the supposed reasons for Prop 8 and says, come ON--banning gays from getting married doesn't promote ANY of these goals. The only goal it DOES promote is harming a particular group, and that's not a legitimate/rational reason for a law.
Next, the anti-gays will undoubtedly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which may or may not take the case. In a future post, I might talk a little more about this. But for now, let's all bask in the happy afterglow of the Ninth Circuit's decision!