Friday, February 02, 2007

A Post About Gavin Newsom (But Not His Affair)

While California is still reeling over Mayor Gavin Newsom's latest romance, I want to focus on what made Mayor McDreamy the political star that he is today. Hint: it wasn't his looks or money.

On February 12, it will have been three years since Mayor Newsom declared same-sex marriage legal in California. While he did not have the authority to interpret state law (that role is reserved for the courts) he did force California to consider the issue with urgency. On that fateful day in 2003, Newsom's protest shook California like an earthquake and initiated a series of lawsuits now pending in the California Supreme Court to determine whether Gays and Lesbians have the legal right to marry.

I have already written about my personal views on Gay Marriage (as a refresher: I support Gay Marriage but think there are more important and urgent Gay rights issues that must be addressed immediately). Still, I applaud efforts in California to show heterosexual people the inequality faced by Gay men and women.

The Yolo County Clerk-Recorder, Freddie Oakley, was featured in the Sacramento Bee today because she is doing just that-making more apparent the inequality faced by Gay couples in this state.

Ms. Oakley is statutorily unable to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, so she has developed a certificate of inequality to grant instead. Obviously, Gay people already know that we are treated unequally under state laws, but these certificates have continued to draw attention to the disparity. Although Governor Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that grants every state-provided benefit and responsibility of marriage to domestic partners, Domestic Partnerships are still unequal to Marriage in both name and federal benefits.

In short, I applaud the efforts of both Newsom and Oakley for keeping Gay rights on the forefront of California politics.

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