Kate Kendell

United We Mourn, United We Stand

Filed By Kate Kendell | May 26, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: California, California State Supreme Court, gay marriage, Prop 8, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage

Today, the California Supreme Court diminished its legacy as a champion of equality. By upholding Prop 8, an initiative that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California, the Court's decision has undermined the central principle that all people are entitled to equal rights and has jeopardized every minority group in California. No minority group should have to defend its right to equality at the ballot, and the Court should not have permitted such a travesty of justice to stand.

Today's decision is dramatically out of step with where the nation is heading. After decades of struggle and hard work, we are living through an unmistakable turning point in the history of our movement. In the past few weeks alone, there has been a tidal wave of momentum in favor of equality for same-sex couples--including a unanimous decision upholding marriage equality from the Iowa Supreme Court; legislative victories in Vermont and Maine; and additional victories on the horizon in New Jersey and New York. Across the country, public opinion is shifting decisively in our favor. Five states have now embraced full marriage equality for same-sex couples, and more are expected to join that list this year. It is devastating that California is no longer one of them. But rest assured: we will be again.

As I wade through my many emotions--heartache, disappointment, grief, anger, and disbelief--one thing is clear: we will regain the freedom to marry in California. It is now up to the people of this state to restore California's national stature and once again embrace inclusion, fairness, and equality for all.

Together, we will be the first state to repeal a marriage ban at the ballot.

Over the past few months, I have participated in town halls across the state. In every community, I have been moved and encouraged by the resilience and strength of our community and our allies. I have been reminded that we have weathered far worse storms. We fought back against the criminalization of our relationships and violence at the hands of government officials and police, and we must remember that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. We fought back against efforts to strip us of custody of our children. We fought back against medical authorities when they pathologized our love. And we continue to fight against an epidemic that still claims the lives of far too many. By being our authentic selves, by demanding change and full equality, we have changed the law and transformed public opinion. And we have built one of the strongest movements for human freedom and equality of our time.

We must now use that strength to reverse Prop 8 at the ballot. As we band together to realize that goal, the more than 18,000 married same-sex couples must be our ambassadors. They must help others regain the equality that now only some of us enjoy. We must also call on fair-minded Californians to stand with us, come to know our families, and undo the damage caused by Prop 8. Let's harness the remarkable grassroots energy and activism that sprung to life after Prop 8 passed and reclaim our state's rightful place as a civil rights leader. We are unified. We are ready. We are resilient. We will stand together with our allies and we will be victorious.

This is not over.

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I fully well intend to work hard to convince members of our LGBT community to refuse to buy California produce and wines and to avoid using as many California products and services as possible.
It is time that we boycott California the way Florida Orange juice was hit.
When these companies start losing market shares and when these people star losing their jobs we need to remind them that this is the harvest of what was planted there.

ellysabeth | May 26, 2009 2:24 PM

As a Californian who is also disappointed with the court decision, I'd like to personally encourage you to reexamine your impulse to boycott the entirety of California.

We are already experiencing economic hard times here, and during economic hard times, who's the first in line for unemployment? Minorities of every sort, including LGBT people, especially trans people. A California-wide boycott of goods and services is going to affect more than just the people who got Proposition 8 passed. It's also going to affect those who worked hard against the tide, and it's very likely going to hit us first. It really wouldn't help matters for us here if even more economic hardship were piled atop the civil rights injury that took place today.

Please consider a more "targeted" response to today's disappointment.

Very well said, Kate. Although I retired and left the state a couple years ago to be near my children, California is still my home in my heart. Today, my heart mourns once again. I want to thank everyone in California who fought so hard and continue to fight for marriage equality and human dignity. Indeed, this is not over.

"Today, the California Supreme Court diminished its legacy as a champion of equality."

I have to disagree. The California Supreme Court proved that they were an advocate of equal rights when they initially overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage on year ago. They have already shown that they are a champion for equality. Today, they showed that they still live under the law. They weren't deciding on whether or not they personally believed Prop 8 to be fair. They were decided upon whether Prop 8 was a constitutional revision or amendment. They ruled that is was an amendment, as I probably would have if I was in their shoes. I too am against Prop 8, but it was voted into law. That's just the way it is.

"The Court should not have permitted such a travesty of justice to stand."

In what legal way should they have denied Prop 8? I don't like Prop 8 any more than you do, but one has to have a legal reason for why Prop 8 is not acceptable--and a valid legal reason. The reason that was argued (amendment vs. revision) simply didn't hold water.

I am sorry for your heartache. And I too am thankful that "this is not over." But the people of California did what was within their legal right, and the Supreme Court upheld that right.

That being said, let's overturn this amendment!

I could personally address why I think you're wrong about the justice's hands being tied by the law here, but I'll just ask you to read Moreno's dissenting opinion, because it explains it better than I could. It's not that the justices' hands were tied, it's that they lacked the courage to do the right thing.

I'm kind of looking for some clarification here. I don't understand the reasoning that allowed the existing marriages to stand - "Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. " (from the initiative itself). So how did the court justify adding the exception?

The proposition itself did not contain this exemption.