Hundreds of supporters gathered at the California Supreme Court and thousands more tuned in to the oral arguments over whether same-sex couples should continue to face exclusion from marriage with all the security, protections, responsibilities and respect it brings them and their kids and loved ones.
A telling exchange came when the justices asked whether the concept of equality evolves, and, if so, why this is the time to accord same-sex couples their freedom to marry.
In response Therese Stewart, San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney, cited the Court's own historic 1948 decision striking down a ban on interracial marriage, the first such ruling in America, which declared that "the essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one's choice."
She added,”…just because society doesn't see something as unequal until a given time, that doesn't mean it wasn't always unequal or unjust, it just means we were blind to it."
My friend Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, added: “People want to marry the one person who to them is irreplaceable. We demean ourselves as a society… if we do not give individuals that freedom to choose whether to marry and whom to marry.”
Sometime in the next 90 days, the Court will decide whether to end the denial of the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. We must use these precious days to create the climate that enables the judges to do what is right -- through conversations, organizing, and engagement. Based on what I saw at oral arguments yesterday, there is every reason to think that if we do our part, the judges can do theirs.
The Let California Ring team will keep you posted in the coming weeks. Thanks for all you’ve done on behalf of this movement.
P.S. If you missed the live broadcast of oral arguments, click here to watch an archived version.