Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Upholds Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court issued its decision today and voted 6-1 to uphold Proposition 8, a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same sex marriages that passed by a wide margin.

As part of the decision, the court also ruled that the 14-18,000 same sex couples who were legally married during the interval when such marriages were legal will continue to be recognized by the state.

This nonsense all started when the California Supreme Court arbitrarily overturned Proposition 22 by a 4 to 3 vote,a law restricting the use of the term 'marriage' to refer to the union of one man and one woman that was passed by a whopping majority of 61% of the voters back in 2000 to reinforce state law's pre-existing ban on same-sex marriage.

As I pointed out at the time, the justices themselves admitted that California's domestic partnership laws gave same sex couples the same rights and benefits a heterosexual married couple has, but they decided to overturn it anyway on an ipse dixit (legalese for 'because I said so') basis rather than existing precedent or anything actually in the state constitution.

Prop 8 to amend the constitution was approved by the voters for the ballot in record time and passed handily, and was promptly appealed to the state supreme court, which came out with the decision I figured they would.

The only argument that could reasonably be presented against it was that Prop 8 constituted a revision of the constitution which needs approval by the legislature rather than an amendment, which doesn't. It failed.

Giving a perfect example of how poorly the state is served by its elected officials, one of the people arguing in favor of overturning Prop 8 was California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who took an oath to defend the state's laws in court and legally and morally should have been advocating for the other side of the argument regardless of his personal opinion on the matter. It won't happen given the political realities, but he should be impeached.

As for the ruling itself it was not only legally correct but also humane. It would be cruel and capricious to punish those same sex couples who got legally married during the six month interval when it was legal by dissolving their unions just because some judges went off the reservation and tried to legislate from the bench.

Given the reaction of gay activists to Prop 8 and this decision, I guess we'll see if it ends here. I don't think it will.

1 comment:

Rosey said...

Only in California!