I love this photo of me with Case because it shows our rings together. Although we haven't had a marriage ceremony yet, we are strongly committed to each other. According to Linden Labs, we are as partnered as we can get. My name is in his partner box and his name is in mine. While Second Life doesn't offer many special benefits, we know that our partnership is equal to that of any other couple in SL in the eyes of the Labs.
Today, the United States has taken a small step in the right direction when it comes to creating the same marriage equality we've known for ages in Second Life. A federal appeals court ruled California's Proposition 8 (Prop 8), an amendment to the state constitution that eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, unconstitutional. This ruling upheld District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's August 4, 2010 decision that Proposition 8 was a violation of the Constitution's Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment (http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/). As the court stated in their ruling, released today, Proposition 8 serves only to discriminate against gays and lesbians by denying them "state legitimitization and societal recognition of their committed relationships."
The court's decision does not mean that Great Grandpa Bill and Great Grandpa Frank can finally walk down the aisle to legalize their 40 year commitment to each other, however. A stay preventing marriages in anticipation of an appeal is in place. Proposition 8 proponents have already expressed their desire to appeal the ruling, keeping committed gay couples in limbo.
History isn't made overnight, however. We are moving forward in our quest for equality with each battle won. This decision is certainly worth celebrating as we prepare to continue our fight for basic human rights so our real life partnerships will be granted the same beautiful equality we've been blessed with in Second Life.
For further reading, please check out the following blog, which does a beautiful job of analyzing the court's decision: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/02/9thanalysis.html