5.27.2009

california remains unequal, but the struggle continues

Everyone is reeling from yesterday's Proposition 8 decision, as the California Supreme Court upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriages. It's a terrible decision. It's especially crazy in light of good news in Iowa, where the Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to prohibit some citizens from marrying, and legislative victories in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York.

But as stupid and wrong the California Supreme Court decision is, I hope we can all keep the larger picture in mind. All struggles for equal rights are marked by setbacks and disappointments. But the opposition is on the wrong end of history. One day these anti-equal marriage decisions will look as foolish as the old laws prohibiting inter-racial marriages do now.

The struggle continues, and it will not end, and it will prevail.

9 comments:

Nigel Patel said...

I wish there was a way I could help them fight from all the way over here in Michigan.

James said...

It's a terrible decision.
The problem isn't in the court's decision -- the problem was in the legal challenge raised. Prop 8 was challenged on the ground that it wasn't a constitutional amendment (for which the vote it got was sufficient), but a constitutional revision which required a legislative vote -- not on whether repealing gay marriage was itself good or bad.

They way Prop 8 was challenged actually prevented the courts from ruling on its merits as a law, but restricted them to that narrow technical question.

The good news is that this leaves open a challenge against Prop 8 on its merits; the problem is, that's how it should have been challenged in the first place.

James said...

I wish there was a way I could help them fight from all the way over here in Michigan.
The best thing you can do is fight for SSM in Michigan. The more states go that way, the more pressure there will be on the hold-outs.

L-girl said...

"The good news is that this leaves open a challenge against Prop 8 on its merits; the problem is, that's how it should have been challenged in the first place."

Yes, that's true. I wasn't going to get into analyzing it to that extent, but I do agree.

"The best thing you can do is fight for SSM in Michigan. The more states go that way, the more pressure there will be on the hold-outs."

That's also true. And the more states have SSM, the more pressure there will be on the govt to federalize it.

MSEH said...

Caveat: I haven't read the opinion yet, only second-hand references. But, while I agree with James, in general, I still think that the court *could* have chosen to see this as a revision. To change the state constitution so as to prevent equal protection seems to me much more akin to a revision, than an amendment, as suggested in the dissent. I also think that the fact that civil unions exist in California gave them the "out." Had they not been able to make reference to the fact that the "privileges" weren't being taken away...

James said...

Caveat: I haven't read the opinion yet, only second-hand references. But, while I agree with James, in general, I still think that the court *could* have chosen to see this as a revision.
Maybe. They certainly know more about California law than either myself or anyone I've seen commenting on the matter.

Unfortunately, it looks to me like the pro-SSM forces in California are falling down on the job. Prop 8 shouldn't have passed in the first place, and this challenge -- based on a technicality -- comes across as more of a "we don't know what to do, but we have to do something" desperation move than a proper challenge.

Let's hope they get some better legal & PR advice soon.

James said...

Meanwhile, from the people who believe in the sanctity of marriage: Open Range Sports advertises bachlorette shooting parties for pregnant brides-to-be.

James said...

As you may have heard, a new challenge has been launched against Prop 8, this time based on its merits rather than on a technicality.

One really, really big surprise those: former George W. Bush solicitor general Ted Olson has joined the fight for same-sex marriage.

L-girl said...

"One really, really big surprise those: former George W. Bush solicitor general Ted Olson has joined the fight for same-sex marriage."

Whoa! Not only that, but he's teaming up with David Boies! Boies and Olson were opposing counsel in Bush v Gore.

I have a six-degrees type of connection to David Boies, so I'm always interested in where he turns up.