Proposition 8 and Sadness

I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled goodness programming to contemplate an issue of politics and civil rights, and to take note of the federal court ruling overturning Proposition 8. To my thinking, this decision is a very good thing, but I don’t want to focus today on the issue of goodness so much as the issue of politics and mood.

When I see people celebrating around the country, I feel sad — not for them, but for me. I wish I had their innocence. I wish I could feel their joy.

The ruling from the district court is indeed wonderful. Judge Vaughn Walker’s legal arguments and especially his 80 findings of fact will provide aid and comfort to  lawyers battling for marriage equality in other locales. Perhaps the publicity about his ruling will also teach the heterosexual population, or at least a portion of it, that the long, well-financed effort to derail marriage equality hurts same-sex headed families, hurts our children, and is the definition of cruelty.

But I’ve been around long enough to know that Judge Walker’s opinion is only one step in a long process. Next up is the federal appeals court, and then if everything goes right, the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. And then if everything else really goes right (and this may be a big if), the final step will be victory in the Supreme Court.

If the supreme justices of the land rule in favor of marriage equality, however, we still won’t be done. After that decision, the battle will likely turn to a federal constitutional amendment, and we’ll be back to fighting the same old opposition in every state.

I don’t mention my glum mood because I want to rain on anyone’s parade, but instead to make the point that Ted Olson and David Boies can only move the ball down the field. They can’t actually save us. The only people who can save us is us and our straight allies. We have to continue organizing and fighting, and we have to do it on the grassroots level in every state. I’m not saying that people aren’t already working hard to do this. I just want to bring a bit of reality to the celebrations.

But then, maybe I feel a little too much like a cynical Charlie Brown. Lucy has pulled the football away far too many times for me to believe that’s she’s finally going to let me kick it.

I wish I could cheer and feel that unabashed joy I see around me. I really do.

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