Hasta la vista, Proposition 8

It’s old news by now that California’s Proposition 8 has been declared unconstitutional, and that a long process of appeals lays ahead. Even so, it’s worth writing again here. I rejoiced, for it was very good news.

When Stacie and I got married last year, we had the following text read aloud in the ceremony:

Officiant: Jason and Stacie have chosen this as the first reading on the nature of marriage:

“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. Without question, civil marriage enhances the ‘welfare of the community.’

“Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”

Officiant: And so, to our witnesses and honored guests here today, I ask you: Do you agree to support Stacie and Jason as they accept this commitment and these responsibilities? If you agree, please say, “We do.”

[The audience replied, “We do.”]

Officiant: This reading came from the court decision ‘Goodrich v. Department of Health,’ which granted marriage equality in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Jason and Stacie hope that everyone will someday be able to share in their happiness and marry the person of their choice.

An audible snicker filled them room when the attendees realized we’d had them say yes to marriage equality. But our friends were happy to do it. They know that what Justice C.J. Marshall wrote about the nature of marriage was true. Civil marriage enhances the welfare, the well-being, of the community. This is a big step in the right direction.

Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.