Bad News, Good News

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Today brings two big stories for those of us who live in the U.S. - the California Supreme Court's ruling upholding Proposition 8 and the selection of Supreme Court candidate Judge Sonia Sotomayer.

I've made my opinion pretty clear regarding the rights of gay Americans to marry. I'm disappointed about the California ruling because I consider Proposition 8 and all is ilk to be blatantly discriminatory, and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause and the Establishment Clause*. I strongly believe the issue will have to be resolved at a Federal level, and soon, just as other institutional discrimination issues have been. Allowing each state to make the decision is unfair to everyone, living as we do in a mobile society. You hear that, ACLU? Get cracking and get a case up to SCOTUS. Chop, chop, before my gay friends and family members grow old and die without having the opportunity to marry the loves of their lives.

The selection of Judge Sotomayer for Justice Souter's SCOTUS seat is the good news, at least in my opinion. Leaving aside the frothy craziness that is the far right these days, Judge Sotomayer is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, qualified. That was really my primary concern, given our recent history of SCOTUS appointments. In terms of her honesty in admitting that she sees the law through the lens of her experience and minority status, I say...so what? Everyone does this, regardless of whatever protestations they may make. The only difference is that she doesn't lie like a dog about it. We'll see how the confirmation hearings go, but I'm thinking she's a lock.

Exciting times, Hot Chicks and Smart Men.

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*You don't get to use religious arguments against the establishment of gay marriage and simultaneously claim not to be violating the Establishment Clause. It's this type of hypocrisy that makes secularists roll their eyes at theists and tune out their arguments. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. Don't like it? Feel free to move to a theocracy. I'll even help you pack.

7 comments:

vince said...

I've read the actual ruling (http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2009-05/47130942.PDF) and it will not give the Prop 8 people a lot of joy. It sates in part:

"Proposition 8 does not entirely repeal or abrogate the aspect of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right of privacy and due process that was analyzed in the majority opinion in the Marriage Cases — that is, the constitutional right of same-sex couples to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage” (Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th at p. 829). Nor does Proposition 8 fundamentally alter the meaning and substance of state constitutional equal protection principles as articulated in that opinion."

In other words, the word marriage can not be used to describe the relationships, but nonetheless the relationships have all the rights previously outlined in court rulings, rights which essentially equal those of "married" couples.

What the court had to do was decide if Prop 8 was an amendment or a revision. They ruled it was a revision. They also had to rule on whether or not Prop 8 violated the separation of powers doctrine embodied in the California Constitution. They ruled it didn't.

Having said all this, I agree that Prop 8 is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. At least, that's how I see it. Others, obviously, don't.

And despite the fact that, in my opinion, the court basically said that all Prop 8 really does is say you can't call gay partnerships marriages but they still have 'the constitutional right of same-sex couples to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage”', the fact that they can't be called marriages is still significant and intolerable.

Janiece Murphy said...

Vince, I don't disagree with you. The ruling could have been much, much worse. At least existing marriages are still legal, which I think is huge.

vince said...

Agreed. Still, as Carol Elaine pointed out in her blog, now you have three classes of people in California. It's beyond schizophrenic, it's multiple-personalities-ic.

And the responses of idiots commenting on some of the news sites:

"Only sorry that the 18,000 or so people were allowed to marry pending the election and this decision. The court should have granted the restraining order as applied for."

"A man and woman CAN procreate. A man and man or woman and woman,i s not natural and is against the law of nature."

"This is not discrimination folks. It is about moral values. Don't push your immoral values on us."

"When the first father looking through a delivery room window says with a straight face, "Gee, I hope my child is gay!", then the anti-Prop 8 folks might have a chance."

The stupidity, it burns.

Janiece Murphy said...

Gee, thanks, Vince. Now I have high blood pressure.

I could respond to each bit of stupidity, but I don't want to, and they're so stupid they don't deserve a response.

But I will say that my gay friends and family members may not have "wished" they were gay, but the fact of the matter is that it's an inherent part of who they are. I love them for who they are, so I love that they're gay.

Carol Elaine said...

Janiece, I have some beta blockers I've never used - want one?

(Was once misdiagnosed with high blood pressure when I was going through major anxiety attacks. Never needed the stuff. Ativan, on the other hand...)

I agree with Vince - Prop 8 is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. I'm no constitutional lawyer, but I think the CSC screwed the pooch on this one.

And anyone who thinks that the pro-Prop 8 bigots are just going to leave the current !8,000 same-sex marriages alone are hopelessly naive. Bigotry never says, "Well, that small portion of this group that I hate for no logical reason can be left alone." Bigotry such as this is an all or all proposition.

Janiece Murphy said...

Carol Elaine, I'll let you keep your beta-blockers, since you're the one who lives in California.

However, now that I've had some time to do some additional research, I'm actually thinking that the CSC ruled correctly, given what they were asked to decide. The key issue was whether or not Prop 8 was a "revision" or an "amendment," not whether or not Prop 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. Given the circumstances, I'm thinking the CSC made the correct judgment.

Of course I still believe that Prop 8 is a violation of the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, but in terms of what the court was asked to decide, I think they were probably correct.

Which is just another reason why this needs to be decided by SCOTUS.

Jim Wright said...

Don't like it? Feel free to move to a theocracy. I'll even help you pack. Fucking A. I don't belong to your church (your being whoever, not you Janiece) and I'm not going to comply with your belief system's requirements. Not. And if you attempt to impose them on me, there will be violence, just sayin'

While I agree with Vince, and Scalzi, and Carol, and you that prop 8 really doesn't give the frothy religious assholes what they want, it's the principle that chaps my ass here. Separate but equal? If it was really equal, there would be no need to say "separate but equal," would there?