Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prop H8: Another California Story (That May Affect Nevada)

These past few weeks and months, there's been so much happening in Nevada that it was sometimes quite difficult for me to turn my eyes elsewhere to see what's happening "in the outside world". But now that I'm actually here in California this month, I figured now would be a good chance to discuss the wrap-up of the Prop H8 federal trial... Especially with closing arguments today.

Courage Campaign, Progress Now Nevada's sister organization in California, has been covering the Prop H8 trial like crazy. The above video is a "retold scene" directly from the trial transcript.

So why am I talking about California (again) today? Well, this doesn't just affect marriage equality in California. This will have an impact on LGBTQ equality throughout the nation. The verdict, along with the subsequent appellate court rulings, will set a precedent for federal challenges on other marriage bans, including Question 2 here in Nevada.

Think about it. If the courts uphold Prop H8 and consider discrimination "constitutional", we probably won't see any challenge of Question 2 any time soon. However if the courts decide to overturn Prop H8, even if it's a narrowly tailored ruling stating that the Yes on H8 campaign's target of LGBTQ families was unconstitutional, this opens the door for us to make a move on Question 2. And especially if Judge Walker issues a broad ruling specifically declaring the entire concept of banning marriage equality unconstitutional, then Question 2 also is immediately struck down along with all the other state marriage bans.

So why does all this marriage talk really matter? As I explained last year, domestic partnership (DP) is needed progress but it's still not marriage. There are still many state and federal benefits and responsibilities given to married couples but denied to registered domestic partners. DPs were needed to provide some type of legal recognition and equal treatment under the law, but they are not full equality and we shouldn't ultimately settle for less than full equality.

So this is why I'm keeping an eye on Prop H8. Hopefully, we'll eventually see justice come from the courts. And regardless of what happens in the courts for the next few months, we need to keep organizing and keep winning hearts and minds until we build majority support for full state and federal equality.

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