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May 31, 2009

California Court Gets Prop 8 Decision Right

NOTE: WROTE THIS THE OTHER DAY, BUT IT SOMEHOW DID NOT POST, HENCE ITS BEING POSTED NOW.

When the people collectively decide to change their fundamental blueprint for government, the will of the majority outweighs any prior precedentand the language that was changed.

The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law.

The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote.

Which, of course, puts the matter precisely where it should be – in the hands of the people of the state of California. Had the California Supreme Court not issued its 4-3 ruling a year ago overturning what had long been established public policy on the issue of marriage, that is where it would have been. Effectively this returns the issue to where it was a year ago.

Except for the case of those 18,000 marriages performed before Prop 8 was adopted. It is hard to argue that the court’s decision that they were valid is anything but correct. After all, the law during the period of time when they were performed allowed for them, and nothing in the amendment spoke to undoing them. Of course, there is the question of how the state of California will deal with this relative handful of marriages – if the policy of the state is that marriage is only between one man and one woman, how will these anomalous marriages be treated under the law and policies of the state? And what of out of state marriages performed during the same time period?





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