What Prop 8 And SB 1070 Have In Common

New America Media gets at the power of the true power of the law.

By Naima Ramos-Chapman Aug 09, 2010

Sandip Roy, an editor and a gay immigrant, expressed why the fight in Arizona against SB 1070 and the fight in California against Proposition 8 may be one in the same. He writes at New America Media:

Both issues are resulting in a patchwork of laws, happening state by state. In one case, it is because of the lack of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. In the other it’s because of the Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level. Democrats are nervous about both issues, trying to walk a fine political line. Both have become electoral tripwires even when they are not on the ballot. And as Out4Immigration’s Amos Lim points out, binational gay and lesbian couples are caught in the gap between the two. Gay marriage in California will not help them until there is immigration reform in Washington.

The fight over Prop 8 in California rested on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. What Judge Walker found was Prop 8 violated the due process and equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Some of the connections Roy made were that the judges in both cases, Susan Bolton and Vaughn Walker, will be "tarred as judicial activists" by detractors. The term makes both progressives and conservatives cringe and is often too loosely hurled at reasonable judges who acknowledge the constitution for what it is: a living, breathing document and not an edict written in stone. 

It’s what we all learned about in American history class, but what some of us have unfortunately forgotten. It’s a reasonable idea that judges can and should interpret the constitution to suit their visions of how to best serve contemporary society. It’s not so much that these "judicial activist" rulings reflect our nation’s zeitgeist as much as it is trying to catch up with it.

Roy also asks a poignant question: Why can’t we move together? Often in politics you’re forced to choose between an either/or binary, never both. In our need to segment movements we’ve not only have trapped ourselves, but our progress. 

Read more of what Sandip Roy has to say at newamericamedia.com