This week, Diana and I are at the beach for the annual family vacation. I had every intention of recycling some older stuff and not spending so much time on my computer. Then, BAM! All hell broke loose. Paula Deen gets fried in the media, things get crazy in the Texas Senate and the Supreme Court renders some momentous decisions. Damn it, why does all the good stuff happen when I’m on vacation?
Okay, I know that’s not really true. Some of the things that have happened this week aren’t exactly what you’d call good and these kind of things happen all the time. But, it feels like that, I swear. So, when things started popping off, I said to myself, “Self, you’re only going to write about the time-critical, important stuff, the stuff that just can’t wait”. I’ve gotten one whole day off because of that little nugget of wisdom. To quote motivational speaker Matt Foley, “La-dee-frickin’-da”.
The latest occurrence to screw up my vacation plans is, of course, the decision that DOMA is unconstitutional. The Court said it was “a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” That’s a good thing and I’m happy about it. Unfortunately, I got my hopes up that the justices would render a similar ruling in the Proposition 8 case. Alas, it was not to be. They instead determined that the proponents of the law did not have standing to appeal the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, sending it back to the appeals court to be dismissed. Which may be legally correct, but it seems to me they just passed off a hot potato.
Because of this, I was a bit of a Debbie Downer yesterday and if I rained on your pride parade, I am truly sorry. I should have taken it for the win it was and been happy. I realized that when I read Kimberly Knight’s status. She said “Today we celebrate a giant step forward, tomorrow we keep working” and that is exactly the right way to deal with this.
Yesterday was big, it was huge and it was most definitely a win. These rulings may not affect the discriminatory laws that a lot of states have on the books (like my own’s Amendment One), but there is now marriage equality in the most populous state in Union and the federal government will no longer treat same-sex couples as second-class citizens. That is a good thing.
While these decisions were a huge win for equality, we cannot rest on our laurels and last night, we got a sobering reminder of that. After the people of Texas stood up and told their law makers in no uncertain terms that they did not want SB 5 passed, Governor Rick Perry called the Senate back for another special session starting next month, saying “I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.” Of course, the irony of saying you want to protect life while preparing to execute your state’s 500th prisoner (who just happens to be a woman) since 1982 was completely lost on him.
Irony-impaired governors aside, I’m happy about yesterday’s news. That happiness is tempered by the fact that discrimination is still legal in over 30 states, a situation I hoped would be addressed by the Court’s rulings. It wasn’t. But, it could be worse. I could be living in van, down by the river.