“It is enough to say that Proposition 8 operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority’s private disapproval of them and their relationships.”–from the 9th Circuit’s decision on Prop 8. We already knew that, didn’t we? We knew that there was no reason for any of the various limitations that the law has imposed on gay people during our lifetime and that all of those laws were based on lies and were there merely to impose a stigma, like Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter
This has had a predictable effect on gay and lesbian people. We have been told at various times that gay men and lesbians are not allowed to serve in the diplomatic corps, in the State Department, in the Armed Forces, or on police forces, or to get married. One of the effects of all this has been that a particular man has been prevented from serving in the armed forces and also that the charge against him—that his presence is a danger to unit cohesion—was not true. Or he has been prevented from marrying and the charge against him—that his marrying is a danger to other people’s marriages—was not true. During some times, the gay person’s situation was even more difficult because he or she faces numerous charges that were not true, charges that were expressive of the majority’s private disapproval. For long periods since the end of the second world war, gay people have had to hold onto their sanity while being deprived of ordinary human rights, at the same time they were confronted with multiple charges that they knew were not true. This is a tough world.