By Arturo R. García
The fight for marriage equality isn’t over yet. But Tuesday brought with it a huge win for opponents of California’s Proposition 8, as a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law was unconstitutional, possibly sending the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prop 8, which had banned same-sex marriages, was approved by California voters in 2008, overturning a California State Supreme Court ruling. In 2010, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it was unconstitutional, a decision the panel upheld in a 2-1 vote. The panel also ruled Walker, now retired from the bench, did not have to vacate his decision for not revealing his own same-sex relationship at the time of his ruling. Walker’s decision to keep his ruling under a court seal was also upheld.
Despite the panel’s ruling, however, LGBT couples still cannot get married; the law will remain in place during a two-week period the law’s supporters have to determine whether they will appeal to a larger 9th Circuit panel, or go directly to the Supreme Court. Some legal experts have suggested the higher court might leave the case alone.
By Guest Contributor Ay-leen The Peacemaker, cross-posted from Beyond Victoriana
In California at the turn of the 20th century, a community grew in southern California with an interesting history: Punjabi-Mexican families of the Imperial Valley. This unique community stemmed from the effects of British colonialism, transnational labor immigration & American economic opportunity (and American anti-Asian discrimination laws). Many multi-generational families in the area today can trace their multicultural and multiethnic histories back over a hundred years, and refer to themselves as “Mexican Hindus”, “Hindu” or “East Indian” today.
During the 19th century, many Punjabi families sent their sons abroad to earn a living outside the British Raj; most of these sons had served as part of the British army and police force in China. Eventually, these men saved enough for passage to America to work in manufacturing, lumber, or agriculture, with a majority of this immigration happening between 1900 and 1917. These bands of travelling workers were known in America as “Hindu crews.” Others from the middle to upper-middle classes sough educational opportunities in American universities. These Punjabi immigrants typically entered America through Angel Island, the entry point for overseas immigration on the US West Coast. According to Professor Karen Leonard, “Some 85 percent of the men who came during those years were Sikhs, 13 percent were Muslims, and only 2 percent were really Hindus.”