I waited until the last minute to write this letter because I hoped to wax lyrical about marriage equality’s return to California. My first day on the job, back in 2008, was the first day gay couples could legally wed in the state, so I know firsthand how good things could have been after 5 p.m. August 18 (when Judge Vaughn Walker, who two weeks earlier declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, said marriages would resume). And I wanted to share that excitement—the brides, the grooms, the influx of cash into a parched California economy—with you.
But nobody marched down the aisle. Instead, we engaged in something of a new tradition—a good news/bad news tango, where our triumphs are too often followed by disappointment. This time it was the ninth circuit court of appeals that knocked us back to reality, putting a stay on Walker’s ruling until its own hearing in December.
I’m told there’s a silver lining to this disappointment, though. In issuing the stay, the appeals court also expedited the arguments in the appeal of Walker’s decision. And as Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (the group that brought together the one-two–punch legal team of David Boies and Ted Olson) explains, this expedited hearing will help ensure that “we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible.”
As much as I want to see California couples get married (just as they do in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.), and as much as I hope Perry v. Schwarzenegger tips the whole country closer to marriage equality (just as another California case, Perez v. Sharp, did 62 years ago), I’m taking Griffin’s optimism to heart.
Of course, we’ll continue to cover the news around this case in the magazine—as we do in this issue with an op-ed by Griffin, in a photo essay that captures people’s joy following Walker’s August 4 ruling, and in an analysis of Anthony Kennedy, the man who might cast the deciding vote if Perry reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. But as with all breaking news, this unfolding story is best covered on Advocate.com and by The Advocate On-Air, our TV newsmagazine (which can be viewed on here! TV or Advocate.com). Nobody knows this story better than our news team, led by senior editor Andrew Harmon and Washington correspondent Kerry Eleveld (this year’s recipient of the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media), and their incredible work is just a click away.
But back to my frustration for a minute: Sure, I’m disappointed that I don’t have wedding photos—from California friends and readers—to share in this month’s issue. But there’s little doubt in my mind that we’re taking the lead in this crazy tango with the ridiculous Right. And if making the correct steps means it takes a bit longer to get to our triumphant bow, that’s OK by me.