My 12-year-old son and I were in the car this morning, driving to his basketball camp, when we heard the news. The U.S. Supreme Court had declined to rule on California’s Proposition 8, effectively allowing same-sex marriage in the state.
The decision followed one that we’d heard about earlier in the morning, striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and, thus, ruling that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits.
“Is that good?” he asked.
I fumbled for a clear answer. And my response was somewhat muted.
“The Prop 8 decision is good for people in California, but it doesn’t have much of an impact in other states,” I said. “Striking down DOMA helps people everywhere in the country. But yeah, it’s good.”
I’m not sure my answer impressed him. He’s a tough audience.
After dropping him off at camp, my drive to work took me past San Francisco’s Castro district, perhaps the largest gay neighborhood in the country. As people there held signs, proclaiming victory, and news cameras captured the celebration, I was reminded of how big a deal this was.
These are landmark decisions. Not just for gay rights, but for the larger issue of equality.
And today’s decisions make me proud to work at Levi Strauss & Co. – a company that has led pioneering efforts in the fight for equality. For decades.
The company integrated its factories before the law required it. It granted domestic partnership health benefits more than 20 years ago. And in 2007, LS&Co. was the only California business to file an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court, supporting same-sex marriage.
In the cases before the Supreme Court announced this morning, Levi Strauss & Co. joined a broad coalition of marriage equality supporters, urging the justices to recognize the fundamental right of all Americans to marry. We did so by joining the employer amicus briefs in both – the United States v. Windsor case on the constitutionality of DOMA, and the Hollingsworth v. Perry case on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 in the state of California.
Tonight, after having had some time to think about this morning’s rulings, I’ll raise the morning news again with my son. I’ll tell him that these decisions are huge and help ensure that his parents – his two dads – are a big step closer to being considered as “equal” in the eyes of the law as his friends’ straight parents.
I think he’ll like that.
image: Cristian Muñoz, Levi’s® Castro Store, San Francisco