August 5, 2010

District Court Rules Against Religiously-Motivated Bigotry

Prop-8As you know, a federal judge ruled yesterday that California's ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8) is unconstitutional. This is a win for all of us who value equality under the law and a loss for those still clinging to religiously-motivated bigotry. Although I'm not sure anybody believes this ruling settles the matter, it is worth pausing to celebrate the victory.

The complete ruling can be found here.

Many people worked hard to stop this attempt by the Christian right to legislate their particular values, imposing them on a large segment of the population who wanted nothing to do with them. In doing so, the opponents of Proposition 8 stood up for their rights and the rights of all minorities. I am sure some were afraid at times, but they did not let this get in their way. They faced down the bigots who sponsored this offensive legislation, and they won.

Here's how the Human Rights Campaigned summed up the decision:
After hearing extensive evidence in support of marriage equality, and essentially no defense of the discrimination wrought by Prop 8, Judge Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true -- the Constitution's protections are for all Americans, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
How obvious and important at the same time! The Constitution applies to all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. Maybe it even applies to atheists.

Same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. It is also a church-state issue. As we atheists work to advance atheist civil rights, there is much we can learn from the LGBT community. We need to study Proposition 8 closely, paying attention to how it came to be, who paid for it, how it was defeated, and what it means for modern American religion.

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