What’s at stake in the Prop 8 Trial. For them and for us.

This is cross-posted from the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker site. Be sure to check that out as the trial proceeds.

Before the Prop 8 trial started, Yes on 8 general counsel Andy Pugno wrote a blog post (with comments disabled of course) about what the case meant to them.  A snip from them, and then I’ll decode it for you.

What is at stake in the Perry case is not just the right of California voters to reaffirm the definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman; a federal court decision overturning Proposition 8 could also ultimately nullify the people’s vote on marriage in 45 states and the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996.

In other words, what is at stake for them is a last grasp to hold on to the past. A past involving raids upon bars, closets that enveloped the LGBT community, and a fear of telling the truth. If Prop 8 is upheld by the Supreme Court, the LGBT community will have to live under separate but equal while the federal government gradually matures. For them, they must win, for a loss would mean the end of the road for the politics of scapegoating and fear that have served the right-wing so well over the last twenty years.

For us, what is at stake is the immediate future.  The next ten to twenty years.  A loss would be devastating, of course. To see discrimination against our community adjudicated acceptable under the Constitution would be a slap in the face.  But, as Martin Luther King, Jr, said, and was repeated by President Obama, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

See, the thing is that demographics are really rough on them.  At the polls, young voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop 8. Voters under thirty opposed Prop 8 by over sixty percent. These, and voters not yet eligible, are the voters who will ultimately end this debate in the favor of justice.

I am a lawyer, and I have faith in the judicial system. But I also understand that sometimes courts can mistake popular anxiety for justice. I understand that our courts can hand down rulings, such as Plessy v. Ferguson that cast doubt about whether our Constitution is really a living document. But our Constitution, and the American spirit, yearns for justice.  And here, as Brown v. Board of Education proved, justice has a way of winning out.

What’s at stake for them is a small world that is getting smaller. Ours is only getting bigger, no matter which way this case goes.