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Hey, It’s Personal!

August 5th, 2010 by Robert West

It’s Wednesday evening after another steamy day on the NC coast, with the temperature still close to 100. I have just poured a crisp, cool glass of white wine, and am scanning the Internet, waiting to hear about Judge Walker’s decision on Prop 8, and the fight to repeal the ban of gay marriages in CA. My cell rings, it’s my (straight) friend Liz, “Hey! We won! I just heard on NPR! They overturned Prop 8.” Wow. While not unexpected, suddenly I am short of breath. Imagine the impact: this decision supports every couple’s right to express their love and commitment. Over the rest of the evening (and one more glass of wine) I explored the Internet, and wanted to share three steps you could take now as this case heads to the US Circuit Court of Appeals.

1) Be proud. Read Judge Walker’s ruling: 136 pages of carefully reasoned, critical rationale for overturning the ban. The US Constitution is alive and robust throughout this document.
2) Read analysis of the decision and watch some excellent news videos from Prop 8 Trial Tracker.
3) Go to Christie Herring’s facebook page for The Campaign, a film in development supported in part by Working Films that shares – with startling insider access, the daily emotional roller coaster of the folks who worked to defeat Prop 8 in the voting booth. They lost that fight. It suddenly looks like the film might have a happier ending.

As an out gay man, living in the American South for over 40 years, this decision is intensely personal for me and for thousands of gays and lesbians like me. In his findings, Judge Walker states: In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief hat a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate. In other words, you can’t legislate hate.

Suddenly, the universe has tilted a bit in our direction, and for the first time, we are free to imagine a future and a life that fully embraces all the potential for intimacy and happiness with a partner. My faith in the founding principles of this country has just been reclaimed a bit; I am heartened and excited about the possibility of winning this battle, all the way to the Supreme Court. It is, without question, a profound moment in American jurisprudence. But it is also intensely personal.

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One Response to “Hey, It’s Personal!”

  1. Paul Kearney Says:

    Robert, the Universe has always “tilted in our direction”, its humanity that needs to get its “direction” corrected. Very nice post. PS: Sounds like you are back stateside.

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