26 May 2009

The Prop 8 Ruling

Reactions from around the "inter-web"...

Melissa Etheridge:
So, will anyone be sleeping better tonight? Those full of hate and fear will surely be disappointed that 18,000 same sex couples will be living in wedded bliss, kissing their spouses goodnight, checking off those little "married" boxes on all those forms we fill out nowadays. That’s really going to drive them crazy. Then there are those of us like me who still dangle in "domestic partnership." We can adopt our own children, but we can’t bring our partners who might be citizens from out of the country, here. We can’t file joint tax returns. I could go on. Who will be happy tonight? How do I explain this to my children? Well, you know Ellen? She is married but Mommy and I are not. That is liberty and justice for all? I am hopeful as I see more and more states turn to the inevitable future of equality, California will get there. Change takes time.
Marriage equality's staunchest (and earliest) advocate, Andrew Sullivan:
Politically, this seems to me the perfect decision. It would have been dreadful if voters were retroactively told their valid vote was somehow null and void - it would have felt like a bait and switch and provoked a horrible backlash.

It would have been equally dreadful if those couples lawfully wed were subsequently forced into divorce by the court. And these married couples and their families and children will now become the focus of the debate in California, as they should be. They are the evidence that we are right: that extending the blessings and responsibilities of full family life to gay men and lesbians is a good and conservative and integrating thing. We need now to put these families forward as our core argument. Their lives are our best case. Like mixed-race married couples in another era, they will show that there is nothing to fear here and much to celebrate.
One of Sullivan's readers (a legal expert of some sort):
Being able to lay claim to the word "marriage" is important, but in all other respects this appears to be a spectacular decision in favor of gay rights.

The decision leaves intact the holding of the Marriage Cases that gays have the fundamental "right to marry" under the California constitution, now and in the future; but unless and until the California constitution is again amended to the contrary, such unions cannot be called marriage.

Opponents of gay civil union rights could try another ballot initiative to expressly amend the constitution to ban such rights, but under the Court's ruling, that proposed amendment would have to ban such rights expressly to be effective. The Court's opinion makes clear that generally, amendments will not be interpreted to repeal constitutional rights by implication. The disfavor of repeal by implication is a longstanding legal principle, and the Court's use of it here is a deft way of sending this issue back to the political process while upholding gay civil union rights for the foreseeable future. Under this approach by the Court, opponents of gay civil union rights would have to word any future proposed amendments in such a way as to expressly ban gay civil union rights, and as a result, their ability to secure a sufficient number of petition signatures to get the amendment on the ballot, and then a majority of votes at the polls, will be all the more difficult.

This is a very, very good day for the cause of gay marriage rights.
Expanding on the same line of thought, Seneca Doane:
...if you look at who won and who lost today, we lost something emotionally important and our opponents, the people who paid for Prop 8, lost almost everything of substance. In time, they will realize that the battle was really over In re Marriage Cases, and they got their butts kicked.

So, while I'm disappointed, I'm no longer outraged. It's hard to be outraged when a unanimous California Supreme Court just reiterated that California law gives every couple regardless of gender the fundamental right to be married in fact, even if voters have messed with the labels. Our opponents lost more today than we did.
The once-great St8 of California now is not only in the toilet financially but more importantly is outshone in commitment to justice and equality by Iowa, Vermont and the other states which have moved on from h8red and bigotry.

Too bad that 6 so-called Supreme Justices put their comfortable blinders on when making their historic-for-all-the-wrong reasons decision. They’ve just Dred-Scott-ed this state and the implications are not good for anyone.