This is an unusual month so far for “gay pride,” even by the unusual standards of contemporary life. The President of the United States formally proclaimed it as LGBT Pride Month ( a first). Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared June as the city’s first LGBT Heritage Month and the City Council had a special (and amicable) pre-session observance on June 3.
But the word “pride” doesn’t convey both the challenge and the agony we face. HIV/AIDS turns 30 this month (the first identified cases were labeled in June 1981) and AIDS is still a curse on the world, especially to minorities and nations where medications are not readily available. I will post my article on AIDS in the prison system separately.
In the meantime, both a federal Bankruptcy Court and U. S. District Court made decisions to bolster the appropriate legal recognition of gay people. The Bankruptcy Court (Central District of California) basically found that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was signed into law by our friend Bill Clinton—during a senior moment when he forgot to be our friend?—is unconstitutional. This ruling comes down beside the Justice Department’s announcement that they aren’t going to defend DOMA in court cases any more, so it will be interesting to see how an appeal plays out.
Meanwhile the original federal Proposition 8 is still working its way through the appeal process, but Judge Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional will not be tossed out because of Walker’s personal prejudice. “Protect Marriage” [sic] had argued that, since Walker is himself gay and did not reveal he was in a same-sex partnership for ten years until after the trial was over, his decision was somehow tainted. The conservative fringe has trouble understanding that if their “logic” was sustained it would eliminate white, Black, Asian, married, single, or indeed all human judges from deciding all cases because their own existence would somehow prejudice their view of the law.
We thought, too, that New York’s state legislature was about to legalize same-sex marriage by June 17, but that hasn’t happened yet. June 17, 2008 was the date that same-sex marriages briefly became legal in California, before Proposition 8 blew then out again that November. Reuters reported last night that we should look for a vote by mid-week (in a hold-over legislative session), which may make New York the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, … or not.
— Pastor Dan Hooper