When California’s Proposition 8 was overturned Wednesday, perhaps you breathed a little easier. I did.
For a few hours, the world seemed a forgiving place, where even the “sanctity of marriage” could find the grace of inclusiveness.
For a few moments, the self-righteous seemed deflated at the legal ruling described by the New York Times as “a stirring and eloquently reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination.”
But, self-righteousness never deflates for long. Google “Proposition 8″ and you’ll see, it’s already rearing its ugly head again.
Even so, some of us are savoring the landmark decision that overturned California’s proposition banning same-sex marriage. It helps shape a future we couldn’t imagine during the bittersweet years of raising a gay child.
Watching your little girl work the world as a tomboy is one thing. You’re grateful she isn’t boy crazy, that her aim is not to look like Barbie, but to shoot hoops like Michael, that she’s adventurous and thinks independently of her peers.
But, watching your daughter angle toward a lifestyle that is often held up to a single, glaring light that other lives are not held to, is another thing entirely. Her future appears uncertain, as proms, marriage and children seem unlikely.
While one coach cheers her athletic gift, another prods her off the team, not because she isn’t a team player, but because she doesn’t fit his idea of the uniform. You watch her knees buckle as she leaves the court.
Her peers and good friends catch on early that she’s different, and shrug it off. But their parents scrutinize the difference like a threatening storm. Never mind that the boys their daughter’s date are the ones needing some scrutiny.
You soon worry that your daughter’s grasp of mathematics, her creative talent, her big heart and unequaled work ethic may not be enough, that society will define her on its own exclusive terms.
Yesterday’s opinion wasn’t written by some Op-ed columnist or blogger, or shouted between talking heads.
Yesterday’s legal ruling found that marriage, including same-sex marriage, is a right protected by the Constitution. It found that banning same-sex marriage violates our 14th Amendment rights to “equal protection and due process of law.”
In his “findings of fact” Judge Vaughn Walker found no rational basis for excluding gays and lesbians from marriage, shooting holes into the fuzzy reasoning of Proposition 8 and its backers.
But, the young generations of hearts and minds, many of whom will never sit on the bench, who, like my daughter’s friends, shrug off old biases of generations past. Born between the 1970s and1990s, they overwhelmingly accept same-sex marriage. Come Thanksgiving, I want to sit at their table.