Great news coming from California today! A U.S. appeals court ruled 2-1 against Proposition 8, a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California. While the ban will still be in effect until the Supreme Court rules on the case, this is certainly a step in the positive direction.
To quote Judge Stephen Reinhardt, "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."
I come from a Catholic family, with a number of family members who don't believe in same-sex marriage. Most of them voted yes on Proposition 8. Arguments I've heard from my family members against same-sex marriage include them not liking gays and lesbians personally, questions about how same-sex couples can biologically give birth and raise families without "mothers" or "fathers", homosexuality being against Catholic teaching, and not wanting sex-sex couples to get married in a Catholic church. As a social worker, I know that I am supposed to respect these perspectives, as most of them are ingrained through culture and upbringings in a country that doesn't respect diversity as much as the United States. Similarly, I have family members who only believe I should date within my religion and race, and spurn any argument made otherwise.
Trying to be the understanding one can be frustrating, as these arguments against sex-sex couples are not reasons to deprive an entire group of legal rights. However, cultural beliefs are extremely powerful and hard to change. I know the best I can do for now is to continue to be understanding and try to educate.
Change is slow, but this ruling in California gives me hope that the oppression of LGBTs will end someday. I can only imagine what it's like being in their shoes right now. Thank you, US. appeals court!