As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California's Decision Day

The California Supreme Court is supposed to deliver their opinion in the Prop. 8 case right now, but for me at least, the site where they're dropping the opinion has clogged toobz. Will bring it to you when I can. The consensus CW is that the Court will not invalidate Prop. 8 but will allow the 18,000 marriages consummated when same-sex marriage was legal in California to remain legal.

LA Times City Desk sez the Court upheld the ban, but the 18,000 marriages will be recognized. As expected.

...what this means is that gay rights advocates will go back to the ballot to overturn Prop. 8. I'm trying to wrap my head around how 18,000 gay couples can be legally married in a state where gay marriage is banned in the Constitution. It's a split-the-baby decision that really doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and will probably disappoint both sides of the debate at some level. The LA Times has a link up, finally.

If you're looking for something to do with the disappointment, join 300,000 other Californians and sign the pledge to repeal Prop. 8.

...State Senator Mark Leno, who wrote two gay marriage bills passed by the legislature and vetoed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, has this reaction:

"Today's decision is extremely disappointing for California and hurts thousands of caring couples who wish to make lifelong commitments to one another through marriage. Let today's decision be a rallying cry for all Californians who believe in equality and fairness, and encourage thousands more to stand up and fight the pervasive injustices LGBT people face in our community and our nation."

"The issue before this court was much greater than marriage equality. The question asked of our justices goes to the core of our society. Can a majority vote undermine a foundation stone of our constitutional democracy, equal protection under the law? Today our highest court ruled that minorities do not matter."

"Through our disappointment, we will still find hope and encouragement, including the 18,000 couples whose marriages in California remain secure and protected today. Through our sadness, our resolve to fight for justice and equality only grows stronger. Love is an unstoppable force, and equality is right around the corner."

As I understand the ruling, the Court did a complete reversal of their previous ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. They asserted that gay couples retain all the rights and obligations in the domestic partnership laws, and the only difference is the word "marriage," which is Constitutional. But last year they ruled that the word marriage matters. It's a very political ruling meant to save their hides. They appear on a ballot every 10 years and they wanted to keep their jobs. I can't think of another reason.

They also appear to demur from standing in the way of any assault on individual rights in California. By this standard, a 50% + 1 majority at the ballot box could conceivably take away ANY minority right they pleased, without the California Supreme Court stepping in as an arbiter. Presumably the federal Constitution would come into play on certain issues as a kind of floor. But realistically speaking, the Court just gave up their function as a defender of the minority.

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