ESP is the Law
- One of the smartest moves by Judge Walker was his unveiling of a central hiding-in-plain-sight fact: the change in society’s expectations about what partnership in a marriage entails. “Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of a division of labor along gender lines” until recently, he said. “Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others. Women were seen as suited to raise children and men were seen as suited to provide for the family.”
- Evidence at the trial, he said, showed “the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles.” As a result, the judge continued, “gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents,” and “gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
- Judge Walker is saying basically that he is not “redefining marriage” — the charge instantly leveled by critics of the opinion. We, collectively, in California and elsewhere in today’s United States, have done the job ourselves.
Gender, while still a powerful and beautiful difference between humans, is dying as a default way to structure our families. Our laws are catching up to this evolution, and our families are reaching to embrace it.