In May 2008, the California State Supreme Court ruled that gays in California must be able to legally marry, or it would violate the state’s laws. 18,000 couples were married before the very public Prop 8 vote took that right from us. It was ruled that those 18,000 couples would be allowed to keep their legal marriages, but no more would be allowed in.
Since then, a series of exhausting trials have been our stony path back to marriage.
PoliGlot has a wonderful breakdown of Prop 8’s journey so far. However, it is full of legalese.
Let me describe it for you in tarot cards.
Why Tarot? My good friend, and designer of Stay on Fountain, Tiffany Rose, once did a tarot reading on me. It was supposed to represent a timeline of my life. She was surprised to see that it was all “Swords” cards, leading to the finish, “The King of Cups.”
Swords mean just that, battle. Strife, struggles, trials. The King of Cups of is a man of wisdom. Seems simple enough: whole lotta struggles and trials lead to wisdom. But the King of Cups is also tricky and mysterious. He is volatile and untrustworthy. The King of Cups is bipolar and can swing between rash anger and unmovable depression if he doesn’t walk a careful, thoughtful and intelligent line.
Which is exactly how we are going to win marriage for all for good. It’s why this endles, endless series of trials and appeals will pay dividends to ensure that when we do achieve Equality, it will be for keeps.
Or, failing that, we do a nasty citizen’s vote again, and we take it back on their same shitty terms.
Tomorrow the Appeals Court rules on whether or not Prop 8 was indeed Unconstitutional. If the answer is NO, it was perfectly legal, our opponents all high five each other, we dance gay in the streets and then counter-appeal in the morning. If the answer is YES, it was illegal as shit, our opponents all harrumph, we dance gay in the streets and then wake up in the morning to find that our opponents have counter-appealed.
Either way, yes or no, this goes on to another court. But for a while, it will SEEM as if the fight is over.
Think of this as Season 5 of “Buffy.” It ends with a gravestone, but we’re not stupid. There’s two more seasons still to go, and so Season 6 begins with a resurrection.
This counter-appeals court (aka Season 6) is called an en banc. What en banc means is that a full bench of appeals judges (that’s 11 of those bad boys) will hear the WHOLE DAMN SHEBANG again, instead of in Season 5, where we only went in front of a panel of 3. A panel of 3 can never overrule another panel. Only an en banc can destroy them.
Like in Season 6 of “Buffy,” the enemy was within. We are going to see, following tomorrow’s decision, particularly if it is a loss for us, an attempt within the gay community to draft a citizen’s vote in time for the November 2012 election. While there might be the votes and momentum to assure a win, it will be short-sighted. It will cripple the Prop 8 case by making it pointless. We need this trial to progress to the last season, because if we win all the marbles, it will set off a chain reaction that will poison pill every future citizen’s vote that would attempt to take our rights away again.
This endurance test will then continue into Season 7, the last one, where the en banc‘s decision will be appealed a THIRD TIME into one of two outcomes– a super en banc, basically an en banc except there’s more judges, or….
THE BIG BAD. The Supreme Court of the United States. 9 judges, no cameras, the final word.
The Supreme Court could also be Season 6, should the lawyers finagle it right, but I doubt it. The timeline of this is strange and unpredictable. It took us over a year just to get to the Appeals Court decision. The Supreme Court can deliberate in a week or forever. That’s the timeline we’re looking at: between a week and forever. Somewhere in there.
So, 10 AM Pacific Time, Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, watch with me. Let’s take that next step towards the King of Cups with care, thought and intelligence.