Stage set for next marriage fight in Calif.

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imageContributing blogger Patrick Saunders is a freelance copywriter and LGBT activist in Atlanta.

A quick word on the Proposition 8 decision today.

Short term, the California Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to uphold Prop 8 is disappointing. But long term this might actually be a good thing for LGBT rights.

The outcome of the case was based on the answers to two questions: Was Prop 8 an illegal constitutional revision, and/or was it unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right? The seven-judge panel voted unanimously that Prop 8 was a legal constitutional revision, and they voted 6-1 that it was not unconstitutional, with the dissenting vote came from the sole Democrat. Most importantly, they decided that the 18,000 LGBT marriages that were performed before the ban should remain valid.

If the justices voted to strike down Prop, that decision could just as easily be used against the LGBT community in the future should a ballot initiative turn out in our favor. The decision Tuesday validates the vote of the citizens of California and it sets the stage for the next ballot initiative against Prop 8. That could come as early as next year, though LGBT rights groups are still deciding whether to bring it up then or wait till 2012.

Regardless, it’s important to keep alive the momentum and outrage that resulted from the Prop 8 vote last November. The decision announced Tuesday will not only help fuel that momentum, but it will help solidify the results of the statewide vote once it comes back up again in 2010 or 2012. The issue now is what we’re willing to do to make sure that vote falls in our favor this time.

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