“Many people are deeply upset that our fundamental right to marry will soon appear on a ballot for public vote. It won’t be the first time in California’s history. In past elections, we’ve had to fight against initiatives that would have prohibited GLBT teachers from teaching in public schools and an initiative that sought to segregate HIV-positive people from the general population.
“When the electorate takes away our civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court can literally be our court of last resort. That’s why, given that the next president will nominate one or more of its members, the GLBT community would do well to remember that, despite Proposition 8, our most important priority is to elect Barack Obama.
“Our rights now hang by a 5-4 margin: Five of the nine-member Court believe in equality for gays. Before Justice O’Connor retired and Chief Justice Rehnquist died, there were seven. And those who remain will not serve forever; one is now 90. The two justices Bush appointed to replace O’Connor and Rehnquist, while not homophobes, won’t likely find protection for gays in the Constitution, and, if John McCain has sold his soul to the right wing over Supreme Court appointments, as did George W. Bush, we can expect more anti-gay nominees to the Supreme Court, which would tip the balance against us.
“(Yes, the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate may have veto power over McCain nominees, but about the only thing we can count on Democrats for is screwing up.)
“So what’s the worst case scenario? Nothing will convince Justice Scalia (known for his opinion, in Lawrence v. Texas, that allowing same-sex sodomy would be akin to sanctioning masturbation) that the Constitution allows adults to have access to contraceptives, abortion, or even the right to have sex outside of marriage. (Even in marriage, sex had better be for procreative purposes, according to Scalia.)
“Couples who plan to marry between now and November should donate to the Obama campaign. Even if California is a given, the funds can help in swing states.
“And Scalia certainly won’t be in favor of same-sex couples marrying. How could he be? In his dissent in Romer v. Evans, Scalia found that the Constitution permits states to deny gays and lesbians equal rights.
“Scalia says he’s not a homophobe – he just finds that the Constitution permits states to imprison gay people, deny us equal rights to employment and housing and otherwise treat us as outcasts. (Pregnant women, blacks, Hispanics, the disabled, and seniors don’t fare much better.)
“While we gays and lesbians in California are “safe” (for now), imagine the potential problems when GLBT couples travel to other states, especially states like Michigan, which do not recognize same-sex marriage or relationships akin to marriage, such as domestic partnerships. Imagine if your spouse had to be hospitalized and you couldn’t visit because you happened to be in Michigan or Louisiana, or any of the states that do not recognize same-sex relationships.
“This is what’s at stake in 2008.
“Couples who plan to marry between now and November should donate to the Obama campaign. Even if California is a given, the funds can help in swing states.” – California Western School Of Law Professor Robert Dekoven.