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Judge Vaughn Walker came down on the right side of history. Today is a good day to be an American.

This, people, is why we have a written constitution and three separate branches of government; as the Federalist Papers so eloquently state, it is to protect the minority from the tyranny of popular prejudice. This is why our democracy has lasted, because of its checks and balances.

In his famous letter to Tuoro Synagogue, George Washington had this to say:

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

We Americans are constantly pushing to bounds of inclusion. When Washington wrote those words, many of our people were enslaved, not considered citizens. The Right would like to "re-visit" the amendment that ended that practice of counting only some as full citizens, but for the rest of us, the band plays on.

On a personal note, coming from Mormon pioneer stock, let me just say this. Mormons were for a long time one of the groups in America that tested our commitment to equality of citizenship. The victims of nasty smears and lies about their sex lives and marriages, they played the same part that gays now do, defining a similar fight over marriage in the 19th century, seeing Utah statehood itself held hostage until they abandoned their religious convictions. It was wrong then and of course it's wrong now. But slowly did America expand to include them into the embrace of full citizenship. A hundred odd years later, they sought to turn the tables on another despised minority. It's actually a good thing for their own culture and community that they lost this fight, and some day, I think they will recognize that very fact, if with a bit of shame.

Originally posted to LeftCoastBreakdown on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 01:41 PM PDT.

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