This particular story isn’t online, but on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal (a surprisingly good little newspaper with a substantial number of well written stories), they describe the Prop. 8 ruling with the following headline:
“Judge affirms rights of gays”
Not only is that different from every other headline or story I’ve seen on the matter, which inevitably blare “Judge strikes down ban” or some variation, but this seems more accurate, particularly if you read the following portion of the ruling that Orin Kerr highlighted:
The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.
Plaintiffs seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States. Perry and Stier seek to be spouses;they seek the mutual obligation and honor that attend marriage, Zarrillo and Katami seek recognition from the state that their union is “a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.” Griswold, 381 US at 486. Plaintiffs’ unions encompass the historical purpose and form of marriage. Only the plaintiffs’ genders relative to one another prevent California from giving their relationships due recognition.
Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as “the right to same-sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.
I think it would be wise to adopt the language of the Wisconsin State Journal. We did not strike down a ban, we affirmed the rights of our fellow citizens. Gays (and whoever else society decides to bully next) aren’t asking for any special rights. They just want the same rights everyone else enjoys, and our laws exist to make sure that that is the case. These are fundamental principles that really state who we are as a people, much as the Cordoba mosque issue struck at our core principles.
It’s just another example of how perverse Republicanism and “conservatism” have become that they want to strike at the heart of who we are as a people for little more than short term political gain.