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Problems with the CA Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Decision

In the wake of the California Supreme Court decision to strike down the state’s provisions recognizing only traditional marriages, Pajamas asked me to offer my thoughts on the topic. I offer the first few paragraphs here:

Earlier today, holding current “statutory provisions” limiting “marriage to opposite-sex couples” unconstitutional, a divided California Supreme Court overturned the state’s retention of the traditional definition of the institution. In short, the court mandates that the Golden State recognize same-sex marriages.

The court found the existing domestic partnership legislation affording same-sex couples “virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges” and imposing “virtually all of the same legal obligations and duties” violated the state’s equal protection clause.

As a gay man who supports the ideas the institution of marriage embodies, I should be pleased and to some degree, am grateful that this issue has received the attention it is getting, but feel nonetheless troubled by the decision. To be sure, the court makes some valuable arguments about the merits of recognizing same-sex unions, but, I believe those arguments should be made to the citizens of the Golden State, 62% of whom voted in 2000 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, click here to read the rest of the post.

McCain Blogger Conference Call

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:56 pm - May 15, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Blogging,War On Terror

You know that old expression when it rains it pours, well such seems my life today. I woke this morning, anticipating blogging on the California Supreme Court’s ruling just after 10AM, then dialing in at 11 for a bloggers’ conference call with Senator McCain.

A couple hours before the call, I checked my e-mail on my GayPatriot account to find that Pajamas wants me to write a piece on the California decision, so I’ve been toggling back and forth, trying to work on both projects.

As soon as I finish this post, I’m going to work on my marriage piece, then, time permitting, will offer some thoughts on the call with the presumptive Republican nominee. I expect other bloggers to post on this right away, so just check some of the conservative blogs, notably Commentary’s Contentions and National Review’s Campaign Spot as bloggers form those sits, Jennifer Rubin and Jim Geraghty respectively, asked the first questions and got great responses (in my mind) from the Arizona Senator.

What impressed me most about the call was the Senator’s good humor and his ability to handle questions about a great number of issues, from the war in Iraq to Lebanon to energy policy to conservative ideas and media bias. This man is very good on his feet (so to speak). He has a great command of the issues.

The focus was on Iraq. McCain found it naive for a leader to want to sit down with leaders countries which are state sponsors of terror and are sending explosive devices into Iraq, referring to Senator Obama’s comments in the Youtube debate in July that he would meet personally with the leader of Iran without precondition. He calls such meetings “unacceptable” and said the Democratic frontrunner doesn’t have the “knowledge or experience” to safeguard our national security.

McCain looked forward to having conversations with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and commended him for ideas, particularly the Contract with America, observing that the ideas in that contract were similar to those of the Gipper.

While many conservatives may be skeptical of John McCain, he does show respect for conservative leaders and understanding of our ideas. But, above all, he knows the stakes in Iraq and the consequences of an all-too-hasty withdrawal.

CA Supreme Court mandates gay Marriage in Golden State

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:16 pm - May 15, 2008.
Filed under: Gay Marriage

Well, advocates of gay marriage will be giddy today, with the state Supreme Court ruling:

we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.

I disagree with this ruling because I believe the decisions the Court made better belong with the legislature and/or the people. And am troubled by the court’s dismissing their role in deciding this issue, particularly given that the court is redefining an institution which has long had a particular meaning, that of being a union of one man and one woman.

UPDATE: I’m reading the decision for a piece I was asked to write for Pajamas. I’m finding the court makes some solid political arguments. I hope to offer further comments on this. Right now, I’m really troubled that the court reduces marriage to “two adults who share a loving relationship” (p. 7 of the opinion).

Wish the media world weren’t as it is sometimes so I didn’t have to rush to get my opinion out there. Would rather digest this. I’m taking copious notes on my printout of the ruling (well of the first few pages as it’s over 100 pages).

UP-UPDATE: Seem Glenn Reynolds’ opinion is pretty similar to my own, though I’m more ambivalent about gay marriage than he: “Personally, I favor gay marriage, but I think it would be much better if it were adopted through political, rather than judicial, channels — though I realize that some would call that a distinction without a difference where California is concerned. . . .

CA Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage @ 10 AM PST

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:51 am - May 15, 2008.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Legal Issues

The California Supreme Court will issue its ruling on gay marriage this morning, Thursday, May 15, 2008, at 10 AM Pacific Standard Time, 1 PM GayPatriot Blog Time.

While most gay activists are optimistic the court will require the state to recognize same-sex marriages, I’m not so sure that ruling would be a good thing. Proponents of an amendment to amend the state constitution to recognize as marriage only unions between one man and one woman have gathered enough signatures to put their proposal on the fall ballot. This ruling could give them added impetus to pass their proposal.

After state supreme courts (Hawai’i and Massachusetts) attempted to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, opponents of gay marriage succeeded in placing referenda on state ballots to define marriage as one man and one woman. Citizens in those states responded by passing these bills by large margins.

But, when the Washington and New York State Supreme Courts did not rule in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages, the impetus for such referenda began to dry up. State referenda in the months following those rulings saw ever smaller margins of victory. In 2006, such an initiative passed in conservative South Dakota with only 52% of the vote while a more draconian one was defeated in Arizona.

Advocates of gay marriage may bemoan a ruling which maintains the current definition, but they shouldn’t be so glum. A defeat at the state Supreme Court will make it easier to defeat the proposal slated for this fall’s Golden State ballot. A ruling mandating recognition of same-sex marriage could lead to backlash as it would energize social conservatives who support the traditional definition of marriage as well as other Californians who don’t believe courts should define marriage.

And these citizens have already weighed in on this matter in 2000 when they voted for Proposition 22. If advocates of gay marriage had respect for the democratic process, they would go back to them and ask them to repeal this proposal. They’ll have a chance this fall, a chance which they wanted to avoid (by attempting to harass those gathering signatures). Their decision to go through the courts may make their goal more difficult to realize.

On Crystal Dixon & the Problem of ENDA

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:30 am - May 15, 2008.
Filed under: Academia,Free Speech,Freedom

Reading the thread to my second post on Crystal Dixon, the University of Toledo administrator fired for saying some un-PC things about gay rights on her own time as well as e-mails from readers who had followed the story solidified my opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), indeed to most legislation which would prevent employers from setting their own employment policies.

In the ideal world, a university should be able to set its own such policies and dismiss employees who do not act in a manner consistent with the university’s values. But, this is no ordinary university, it is a branch of the state and thus (in my view) must have standards different from a private university or other enterprise.

That said, some of my critics do raise valuable points. As associate vice president of human resources, her anti-gay bias may have caused her to discriminate against gay employees or candidates for employment. In response, I asked if the university provided any evidence of such discrimination. If she, as a public employee discriminated against gay people, she should be fired, or at minimum transferred to a job where she wouldn’t be making employment decisions.

But, as this commenter to Pam’s House Blend who watched her on TV reported, “The university could find no instance of her being prejudiced against glbt people on the job!” If that’s the case, I stand by my criticism of the university (and remember I’m criticizing the university, not defending Ms. Dixon.)

We should leave the question of determining whether her un-PC thoughts led to discriminatory actions. That question naturally becomes more complicated in public employment when we need to consider a variety of other issues. A public institution works for all of us (and is paid for by all of us); it doesn’t just serve those who have a choice whether to purchase its good and services.

(more…)

MSM borrows from Obama’s playbook

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:18 am - May 15, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Media Bias

I wonder if John Edwards decided to endorse Obama in order to get into better graces with the media. Or maybe he wanted to join the mad rush (and given the results yesterday from West Virginia, I do mean mad) of Democratic leaders, including a number of superdelegates, to their party’s frontrunner.

The MSM so wants this thing to be over and to have Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee that they’ve decided no one cares about HIllary’s landslide victory in West Virginia. It’s irrelevant because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

That’s not the only thing that doesn’t fit their narrative. They’ve borrowed the Obama campaign’s rhetoric that any thing John McCain or Republicans do or say to question the one-term senator’s qualifications for the White House represents an “effort to distract us.”

Note the similarity between Obama’s comment that McCain uses “the very same playbook that his side has used time after time in election after election” with the language from the Newsweek article I cited in this post: the GOP “has been successfully scaring voters since 1968.”

Both the Obama campaign the Newsweek reporters are using that same-old left-wing excuse to explain away the Democratic losses in seven of the last ten presidential elections. It was only in realizing the foolishness of this excuse that Bill Clinton was able to craft a winning strategy for two of the three elections the Democrats didn’t lose.

So much does that Newsweek article offer the Obama campaign’s version of one of McCain’s criticisms of the likely Democratic nominee that its reporters neglected to mention that what prompted one McCain campaign criticism, suggesting Obama is the preferred candidate of the terrorist group Hamas, “was top Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef saying the terrorist group supports Obama’s foreign-policy vision and hopes he wins” (Via Powerline).

Just as some in the MSM find any stories on problems Obama might have with his party’s base distractions from the news they want to report so too do they find distracting any criticisms John McCain, his supporters or others make of the likely Democratic nominee even if such criticisms are based on fact.

But, to them, any criticism of Obama must needs be mudslinging or speaking in “innuendo and code.”