by Dan Savage
on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 10:57 AM
This morning's decision was expected but, in the wake of so many recent victories, still saddening. But we have to remember that this is a long game and, despite this setback, we are winning. We're going to hear a lot about Prop 8 today, and the fight to overturn it, but let's not forget about Prop 22.
In 2000 California voters approved a law banning same-sex marriage. It was a ballot initiative, like Prop 8, but just a law, not a constitutional amendment. And it was that law, Prop 22, that the CA Supremes struck down in 2008, in their historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. And voters in 2000 approved Prop 22 in by a nearly 22-point margin. And eight years later the same voters would approved Prop 8 by four points. That's an 18-point shift in favor of marriage equality in just eight years. That's extraordinary progress. A loss is still a loss, and a loss sucks, but the trend is so strongly in our favor that we cannot lose hope. The anti-gay bigots know that they're losing this debate, and it's why they're so hot to amend state constitutions now, while they still can, while they can still count on the votes of the old, the bigoted, and the easily manipulated. But they are losing and they know it.
We're going to go back to the ballot box in California in 2010 or 2012 and voters are going to repeal Prop 8. Fundamental civil rights should not be subject to a popular vote, of course, and the CA Supremes had an opportunity to reaffirm that ideal. They chose not to, they buckled, and so we, unlike other minority groups, face the challenge of securing our rights at the ballot box. That seems daunting prospect until you recall 2000's Prop 22 and compare its margin of victory to that of 2008's Prop 8. Again, we witnessed an eighteen point shift in favor of gay marriage in California in just eight years. We can move another four points. We just have to stay in the fight and remind ourselves and each other that we are winning.