The decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8 and the uphold the validity of the 18,000 gay couples who were married before its passage, isn’t as schitzoid as it seems on the surface.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote the opinion of the for a 6-to-1 majority, states that same-sex couples still had a right to civil unions, to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage.”

George reinterates that that Proposition 8 did not “entirely repeal or abrogate” the right to such a protected relationship. It “carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term ‘marriage’ for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law.”

That parameter points to what is essentially wrong about an ‘civil-union’ appropriation for gay couples. Separate is never equal. It’s possible that from the longterm goal of marriage equality rights, this technical loss will be turned into a decisive constitutional victory.