Gay Time in the Old Town Tonight
On Monday, San Francisco County Superior Judge Richard Cramer ruled in favor of the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couples, stating that withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.
While this is but one positive step forward in the struggle for equal marriage rights for all Americans, it is clear one all the same. Echoing the reasoning in Supreme Court cases from Loving v. Virginia (striking down bans on interracial marriage), Romer v. Evans (ending discriminatory amendments to the Colorado constitution) and Lawrence v. Texas (overturning sodomy laws), Judge Kramer stated that:
"It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners...The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional."
As Perrspectives argued in "States' Blights", the states' checkered past in respecting equal rights and personal privacy leave proponents of same-sex marriage rights little recourse but to turn to the courts for protection and clear standards. We also argued that principled legal action by the affected couples, rather than arbitrary moves by executive officials such as San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome, would be more effective and seen as more legitimate.
No doubt the conservative counter-attack will start momentarily, with cries of "judicial activism" to be heard across the nation. ("Judicial activism" is conservative-speak for "we lost.") While the supporters of the Dred Scott and Plessy decisions rage, for one night at least we can score one for the good guys.