“Fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote." So says yesterday's historic ruling overturning Proposition 8 in California. For the first time, a judge has granted the right to marry based on Constitutional grounds, saying that Prop 8 violated the 14th Amendment.
You can read the full ruling on Scribd, or and here's a roundup of some great media:
The New York Times editorial page with an excellent overview of the ruling and its importance. Also at the Times, an article explaining how the Supreme Court will have a hard time overturning Judge Walker's findings.
LGBTQ civil rights have long been a central subject here at Beacon Press. Here are a few of our recent books relevant to yesterday's legal victory:
by Carlos Ball
Engaging and largely untold, From the Closet to the Courtroom explores how five pivotal lawsuits have altered LGBT history. Beginning each case narrative at the center-with the litigants and their lawyers-law professor Carlos Ball follows the stories behind each crucial lawsuit. He traces the parties from their communities to the courtroom, while deftly weaving in rich sociohistorical context and analyzing the lasting legal and political impact of each judicial outcome.
by Nancy Polikoff
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage shouldn't bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships-including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. Nancy D. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.
by Patricia Gozemba and Karen Kahn
On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision provoked a searing public debate over the meaning of marriage and family, civil rights, and the role of religion in law and society. But the experiment went forward nonetheless: thousands of Massachusetts gays and lesbians married and, remarkably, the sky did not fall.
Through engaging storytelling and powerful photographs, Courting Equality takes readers through the volatile public debate following the decision and introduces some of the many lesbian and gay families who have taken advantage of equal marriage laws. In Massachusetts, equal marriage has not destroyed the family but rather has reinforced the importance of love, commitment, fairness, and equality to the functioning of healthy democratic communities.