California stays true to character in overturning Proposition 8

California has apparently always been the hippie state, I lived there for the eight sunniest years of my life but I guess I missed the memo.

I remember my friend’s dad telling me that I should be careful about “all those liberals out there.” As an 8-year-old, my concept of politics was limited to Monica Lewinsky and that weird Bob Dole guy.

I didn’t really know what to say at the time, but now that I’m older and an adjusted Chicagoan, I see that some perceptions of California can be reduced to Hollywood, traffic and rainbows. But now I think I’ve adopted a Midwesterner perspective of sorts, because I was “hella” shocked to discover that of all places, the land of all things gnarly would allow Proposition 8, a voter-enacted ban on same sex-marriage, to pass in 2008 (52 percent of Californian voters voted against same-sex marriage).

Don’t get me wrong — the establishment of Prop 8 would have been disappointing no matter which state it passed in. But I think some of us didn’t expect it from those loose folks who only wear PacSun and surf all day long.

Prop 8 overturned a previous ruling, In re Marriage Cases which said that same sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.

On Tuesday, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional on the grounds that it “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.”

The ruling was 2-1, with Judge N. Randy Smith voting to keep the ban in place. What’s important to remember here is that this ruling only pertains to the ban in California and cannot speak to the legality of same-sex marriage in other states.

Even when the decision is ultimately appealed, it may not be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States, because it’s impact does not extend beyond the state, said CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

“This might well be the last word on the case,” he added.

What’s more, Margaret Talbot of The New Yorker explains, is that rather than authorize the legality of same-sex marriage, should the Supreme Court take on the case, it could just decide to uphold equal protection. In other words, it would grant same-sex couples the right to marry with regard to equality, without necessarily giving the green light to same-sex marriage on a federal scale.

So while this is great news for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, it may not provide them with the case they need to bring forth a momentous decision.

Also worth noting is that it may not be completely legal for same-sex couples to wed just yet. When Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Prop 8 in 2010, there was a stay issued on the case, preventing all same-sex couples from marrying until all appeals were reviewed. Proponents of Prop 8 will likely ask for a stay.

San Francisco city attorneys say the earliest couples could marry is within 21 days of Tuesday’s ruling, but that’s only if a stay is not granted. An appeal of Tuesday’s ruling, considering our justice system, could take months or potentially years.

When you grant someone the right to marry once, it’s difficult to justify taking that right away, especially when there’s a limited basis for it.

When, and if, the Supreme Court ever takes on this case, the LGBT community may take comfort in knowing that our federal justice system feels similarly.

_Nishat is a senior in LAS._