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Rev. Susan Russell Headshot

Equal Protection Isn't Equal Protection Unless It Equally Protects

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Commentary on the decision of the California Supreme Court to grant legal standing to the proponents of Proposition 8 to appeal the 2010 judgment invalidating it.

The California Supreme Court ruling giving legal standing to an unelected, unappointed mob committed to taking away fundamental rights from LGBT Californians was a disappointment. But more important than the decision giving supporters of marriage discrimination the right to appeal is the decision they're appealing. And that decision is Judge Walker's ruling that taking fundamental rights away from equally protected American citizens is fundamentally unconstitutional.

Because what is at stake in the Proposition 8 challenge is not just the future of marriage for some Californians but the history of fundamental values for all Americans.

Are we a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all -- not just some -- are created equal? Do we believe that equal protection isn't equal protection unless it equally protects all Americans? And is it fundamentally unconstitutional to put the fundamental rights of American citizens up to a "majority rules" vote?

Judge Walker answered those questions when he ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional in August 2010. And Judge Walker was right. It is time to put Prop 8 in the dustbin of history along with DADT and become the nation we say we are -- to make liberty and justice for all a reality and not just a pledge.

And as a priest and pastor, let me be perfectly clear: the issue before the courts isn't whether God equally blesses same-sex marriage; the issue is whether the Constitution equally protects them. And the answer -- in alignment with the traditional American values of democracy, not "mob-ocracy" -- must be a resounding yes!