Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quick hit: California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8

This is very upsetting news. The California Supreme Court upheld the ban on gay marriage made by voters last November, although it did not nullify the 18,000 gay marriages performed between last May, when the court ruled that same-sex marriages were constitutionally protected, and the passage of Proposition 8. This message seems weirdly mixed to me, especially because in the decision, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote that same-sex couples could still enter into civil unions, in which they could "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." Marriage, apparently, is 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."

I have my own thoughts on marriage, which I won't share now (I'll just say that it will take a lot to entice me into the holy bonds). But regardless of whether I think that marriage itself is something that should be considered a societal equalizer, this ruling is unjust and backwards. Thank goodness that we can take some comfort in the progressive actions of Maine, Vermont, and Iowa - this is an incredibly disappointing decision.


At May 27, 2009 at 5:45 AM , Blogger TommyD said...

Believing as I do that process matters just as much as outcome, I think yesterday's CA Supreme Court decision was the ideal one. Prop. 8 was a great disappointment, but it was passed according to the proper procedure and rules of California law (even though these rules happen to be insane). The Court did its job in upholding the state's constitution. If the Court had overturned Prop. 8, it would have been putting outcome ahead of procedure--a very bad tendency, even if one likes the outcome of this particular case.
Fortunately, the same crazy rules that allowed Prop. 8 to be passed so quickly also facilitate its repeal. In the last four months, two states have approved same-sex marriage through the legislative process. (Plus, we're still waiting on NH.) Supporters of equal marriage rights in CA should concentrate their efforts on flipping the 52-48% margin that approved Prop. 8--not running to judges to change the rules mid-game.


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