History will shame the California Supreme Court’s support of marriage inequality. Of course, being on the side of history is cold comfort in the harsh reality of injustice today. The wait for progress at times seems unbearable. But it is coming. There will be setbacks and roadblocks; it will be slow and uneven. We must demand it at every turn and fight for it with all we have. But progress is coming, it always does.
The jumble of a ruling by the state’s highest court yesterday only serves to highlight the inherent inequality of banning gay marriage. In essence, the court created three classes of citizen in California. Gays who got married when it was legal. Gays who aren’t allowed to get married now that it’s illegal again. Straights who can get married anytime they damn well please. It makes no sense and yet there it is. Hello, separate, but in no way equal.
I am thrilled for the 18,000 couples who get to stay married. To be forcibly divorced by the government seems cruel beyond the realm of unusual. But if good timing is all that matters between “I do” and “I don’t” in the eyes of the state, how is this fair? Justice is supposed to be blind, not arbitrary.
I guess what always seems so simultaneously absurd and enraging about this “fight” is that it is about marriage in the first place. While we may have our personal problems with the institution, its origins and intent, I think we can probably all agree that its best it should always be about love. No piece of paper can ever invalidate the human heart. No judge can ever gavel away affection. So we continue, as we always have, to make our own families and follow our own rules. As we continue toward that more perfect union, we know that our unions are perfect and no different than anyone else’s. And, one day, California and the rest of America will know it, too.