Looks like the tide is turning in the ongoing battle for equality being sought by gay couples looking to legally get married.
Last week, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker overturned a California ban on same-sex marriages, which he called unconstitutional. The ban, Proposition 8, was a state constitutional amendment passed in November 2008 that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," he wrote in his opinion.
At the time the measure was approved by California voters, I only shook my head at the outcome. The amendment did not affect the thousands of gay couples who had gotten married in the months before Prop 8 passed, but it affected the countless lives of couples who wanted to wed in the days after, but were unable to do so.
In my mind, I could only think of a phrase one of my high school teachers said a long time ago when I was caught allowing fellow classmates to cheat off a U.S. history exam. The goal at the time, for a much shorter and chubbier version of myself, was to avoid getting picked on.
When my teacher pulled me aside after class, he chided me for giving in to peer pressure.
"Just because it's the popular choice, doesn't mean it's the right choice," he said.
In some ways, I feel like the same could be said about California's anti-gay rights legislation. Sure, a majority of voters felt homosexual and lesbian couples have no right to be considered for a "legal" and "moral" marriage, but couldn't the same have been said about segregation in the middle part of the 20th Century?
A majority of people thought African-Americans had no right to mingle with white families and their children, but history ultimately proved that to be the wrong side of the argument.
My question to you, then, is this - in 50 years, when that generation looks back at this point in history, what will they have to say about the gall of this society in denying the rights of American citizens who are just as entitled as everyone else to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?