Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Thank you, Judge Kramer

Yesterday San Francisco Superior Court judge Richard Kramer ruled that California’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He said: “No rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.”

This week we’ll see a flood of media on this across the country. And all the stories will say how “gay activists” are thrilled and “religious conservatives” are angry. But the real story will be lost.

I’m a 31 year-old married guy. I am not, by any measure, a gay activist. And I am thrilled by Judge Kramer’s ruling. Why? Because I believe in equal rights.

This is a very simple equation: The California constitution says that the state cannot discriminate. And marriage, for better or worse, is a state-sanctioned practice. So for the state to say that one group of people cannot participate because of who they are, that’s discriminatory. Period.

California’s ban on same-sex marriage is no different than the old laws that said that men could own property and women couldn’t. Or that blacks and whites couldn’t marry. Those laws had tradition and religion on their side, too, and how do they look today?

And this is not only a symbolic issue, it’s a legal one. There are over a thousand legal rights given to married people. Why should some people have access to those legal protections while others can’t? Judge Kramer answered that question: There is “no rational purpose.”

The more this story pits “gay activists” against “religious conservatives,” the more it leaves out the vast majority of Americans – people like me that believe in equality and are against discrimination. If you believe that all people should have the same constitutionally-protected rights, then you should be in favor of equal marriage rights for all, too.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.