Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | March 19, 2005

Notes from all over

I had one of those moments this week that clarifies exactly how old you are: I registered my first-born child for high school.

During the tour of the beautiful Sobrato High School campus, we saw kids we hadn’t seen in a while: a friend from the kindergarten through third grade, with whom we lost touch when attendance boundaries changed. We saw another boy my son knew from Cub Scouts. All of these boys, mine included, are taller than their mothers. It’s positively freaky.

Perhaps because it’s the first time I’ve been through this with one of my kids, but it’s intimidating to map out class choices that will impact my son’s college and work careers. Despite the importance of these choices, there was exactly one counselor (plus lots of teacher and administration volunteers, bless their hearts) available to advise the hundreds of students (and their freaked-out parents) about to become members of Sobrato’s class of 2009.

Budgets reveal our priorities. In the world of school funding, counselors need to be bumped up several notches.

***

I’m not sure how to react to the apparent decision of opponents to the location of Christopher High School in Gilroy to stop the battle.

As a proponent of the Day Road location and a witness to the protracted high school siting wars over Sobrato High School, I’m glad that the dispute seems to have ended.

I’d feel better, though, if it was over because opponents changed their minds about the location. But based on the comments I saw in the paper, it seems that’s not the case.

“In my mind, there’s nothing individuals or a community-based group would be able to do to change the plans that had already been laid out. It just appears to me there are other powers at work than due process … in these decisions,” the president of a group formed to fight the Day Road site, said.

I’m not sure whether to be saddened or disgusted by this. But I do know this much: You can’t shape the debate, or the future of your community, if you won’t be part of the conversation.

The environmental review process that the Day Road opponents opted out of is just one of many ways they can make their voices heard. Maybe they won’t get everything they want (the high school moved to another site), but by being part of the process, they can make sure that the final product is the best it can be for their neighborhood.

***

Congratulations to gay-rights advocates on California Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer’s ruling that same-sex marriage bans violate the state’s constitution.

Pardon me while I say, “Well, duh.”

Of course, I know that this is hardly the end of the battle for equal rights for homosexuals. Opponents are already writing their appeals, and the state legislature is considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

But for right now, I’ll take heart in a couple of things about Judge Kramer and his ruling.

First is the logic he used: “The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts: separate but equal,” Kramer wrote in his opinion.

Legal experts noted that Kramer followed the same logic that the California Supreme Court when it overturned laws banning interracial marriage.

Second is the fact that Kramer was appointed to the bench by a Republican, in this case, former Gov. Pete Wilson.

As Salon.com noted, Kramer joins a fast-growing club: “Republican-appointed judges who have issued rulings expanding rights for gay men and lesbians.” In addition to Kramer, Salon mentions the Massachusetts Supreme Court justice who authored the ruling allowing gay marriage in that state, and four of the five United States Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Texas’ sodomy laws in 2003.

So before right-wingers rail about “activist” judges, they ought to take a close look at how these Republican-appointed justices are applying the concepts of right to privacy and equal protection to all citizens. Before they dismiss gay rights and civil rights as non-analogous issues, they ought to read Judge Kramer’s ruling.

There’s a long way to go before same-sex marriage and equal rights for homosexuals are a nationwide reality, but Kramer’s ruling gives proponents energy and hope to keep fighting the good fight.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: