News came today that a federal district court judge in San Francisco is going to announce his decision on the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8 tomorrow. Prop 8, as you know, took away an existing right in the California Constitution - the right of same sex couples to marry. The case was brought by perhaps the two most brilliant attorneys for federal appeals cases: the infamous opponents in the 2000 Bush v. Gore, Ted Olsen and David Boies case came together to file this case.
As some of you know, I was deeply involved in the No on 8 campaign, and the loss was hard on me. Yes, matters of civil rights should never be decided by the whims of a majority. But it was in California in 2008 - and many other states before that. Granted, the No on 8 campaign, as I saw it, was run horribly. Volunteers were encouraged not to talk about gay people, but rather to tell voters, "No matter how you feel about marriage, please don't vote to take away rights" on an issue that was entirely about how voters felt about marriage. We had no ground game. We were told California was too big a state to go knock on voters' doors. If you're thinking that the campaign was the brainchild (I prefer to think of it as a brain fart) of political consultants (I prefer to think of them as hacks) removed from the ground and, evidently, from reality.
But for all the frustrations I had with the campaign, I was genuinely disappointed and disheartened in my fellow Californians. On election night of 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president and progressive electoral triumph swept this country, all I could think about was being told by my fellow Californians that I was not their equal - that my rights, responsibilities and treatment didn't matter as much because I am gay. It was tough. Tougher than most would imagine.
Tomorrow's court decision will be a defining moment in the movement for equality for same sex couples. While its effects will be confined within the state immediately, its implications will be national. Our case argues for marriage equality under the US Constitution. We ask that the laws of the United States protect majority and the minority alike. We ask for what the Supreme Court of the United States promises in the inscription of its own building: equal justice under law. Me? I'm just hoping for the best.