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CA Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:04 pm - May 26, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

I believe the justices made the right decision this time. The decision was 6-1.  Now, the issue is developing a strategy to repeal the state constitutional provision defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And to do so in a manner which respects those who favor that definition.

The court said the scope of the decision was narrow.  I’m trying to get the opinion on line, but the State Supreme Court’s site is understandably slow. Here’s a link to the decision. Seems their The decision boiled down to the use of the term “marriage.” whether Prop 8 was an amendment to or revision of the state constitution.  A revision must first pass through the legislature.  The court concluded that this was an amendment because as

. . . a qualitative matter, the act of limiting access to the designation of marriage to opposite-sex couples does not have a substantial or, indeed, even a minimal effect on the governmental plan or framework of California that existed prior to the amendment.

Basically, this means the state will still recognize same-sex relationships, but will not call them marriages.

The court has upheld the same-sex marriages that took place between the Court’s ruling last year and Election Day 2008.

UPDATE:  The real test to see if gay marriage advocates have learned the lessons from their failure to defeat Prop 8 at the ballot box will be how they respond to this decision.  Should they respond as did many angry activists in the wake of the passage of the proposition, they reduce their chances of changing the constitution.

Should they instead behave responsibly (as I suggested here), showing respect for supporters of the status quo, they increase the chances of repealing the constitutional provision enacted with votes approved Prop 8 last fall. (Law Dork offers a similar perspective, asking people to eschew anger: “Rather than spouting anger at these rallies, organizers and speakers should be spouting information about legislative battles going on in their states and counties.“)

UP-UPDATE:  I’m reviewing the opinion now.  Seems the court finally gets the idea of judicial restraint:

Regardless of our views as individuals on this question of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to confine our consideration to a determination of the constitutional validity and legal  effect of the measure in question.  It bears emphasis in this regard that our role is limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values.

Shouldn’t judges always so adjudicate cases?

The justices see their ruling as a narrow one:

. . . the principal issue before us concerns the scope of the right of the people, under the provisions of the California Constitution, to change or alter the state Constitution itself through the initiative process so as to incorporate such a limitation as an explicit section of the state Constitution.

UP-UP-UPDATE: Seems some activists would rather accuse than argue. AP reports demonstrators changing “shame on you” in front of the San Francisco courthouse where the ruling was announced. Let’s hope such juvenile antics don’t define the response to the ruling.

UP-UP-UP-UPDATE: Law professor William A. Jacobson reviews the ruling.

UPDATE FROM BRUCE: A great perspective from Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades! Read the whole thing!!

Our laws and constitutions are not meaningless.  And our courts are not so broken as people claim. The justice system works and works well most of the time.  Should we tweak it with appropriate legislation (and props, where possible) and by appointing hard-working minimalist judges? Hell yeah.  But exclaiming every time a court decision goes the other way that “the activist black-robed tyrants are at it again” undermines the very point that laws exist for a reason.

[RELATED STORY: Prop 8 upheld by CA Supreme Court – Patrick Range McDonald]

Do We REALLY Need Identity Politics To Extend To SCOTUS?

Imagine if a conservative Supreme Court Justice nominee had said the following… wouldn’t that be grounds for automatic dismissal of his appointment in the court of public opinion as well as the United States Senate?  In fact, it almost sounds like something Robert Byrd would have said at sometime in his life.

“I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Hispanic woman who hasn’t lived that life.”

Well, The Architect of “Hopeandchange” has picked a SCOTUS nominee who made this doozie of a statement of her belief system:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

As Seth & Amy would say on Saturday Night Live — “REALLY, JUDGE SOTOMAYOR?  REALLY.”

If anyone is looking for a SCOTUS nominee to follow the Constitution and not their feelings, this “borderline” racist statement the video below are enough to disqualify Sotomayor in my book.

I don’t feel as white man that she will have my feelings at heart.  And as an American, she obviously disregards 2/3 of the American system of government.

Finally, I cannot wait until a GOP Senator asks: “Do you believe marriage (straight or otherwise) is a Constitutional right?”   And I know for a fact that question is coming.   *big grin*

UPDATE: GOProud weighs in:

This morning, President Barack Obama nominated Federal Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. In response, GOProud’s Executive Director, Jimmy LaSalvia, released the following statement:

“This morning President Obama missed an important opportunity to select a Supreme Court nominee that could enjoy wide, bi-partisan support. Instead of selecting such a nominee, President Obama instead chose to play identity politics and select a highly controversial nominee in Judge Sotomayor.

“Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was held up in the Senate for more than a year and her nomination was eventually opposed by 29 Senators. It is clear that President Obama placed identity politics above all else in his nomination of Judge Sotomayor.

“Judge Sotomayor’s record, both on and off the bench, is troubling. GOProud will closely scrutinize the entirety of Sotomayor’s record before making a decision to endorse or oppose her candidacy.

“Let me be clear, however, GOProud will not support a nominee that fails to understand the proper and limited role of the federal judiciary, and will not support a nominee who fails to protect the rights enshrined in our Constitution.”

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

How Should the GOP Address Gay Marriage?

Last wee, the folks from Pajamas Media asked me to write a piece on one of two topics, the recent statement by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee on reframing gay marriage as an economic issue and the determination of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to press the President’s Supreme Court nominee how he (or she) plans to adjudicate the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

As I considered both articles, I realized they both addressed (in a certain manner) the dilemma facing the GOP as it seeks to rebuild–how to respond to gay marriage.  Here’s how I began my exploration of the issue:

With the California Supreme Court set to issue its ruling today on the validity of Proposition 8, a voter-approved initiative to define marriage in the Golden State as the union of one man and one woman, gay marriage will once again dominate the headlines.  This issue has proven nettlesome for both parties.  President Obama has tried to soft pedal his opposition to same-sex marriage by professing his support for “equivalent rights” (whatever that means) for gay people. Meanwhile, Scott Schmidt, a former senior strategist to the McCain campaign has urged Republican candidates to “steer clear of divisive social issues” like gay marriage and abortion in order to become more electorally “viable.”

At the same time as Schmidt advises the GOP to avoid gay marriage, citizens across the country continue to vote in favor of initiatives like Prop 8 which block states from recognizing same-sex unions as marriages.  Despite such popular opposition, courts in four states (Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and Iowa) have ruled that their jurisdictions must recognize same-sex marriages (with Prop 8 invalidating the California ruling).  State legislatures in three states (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) have passed legislation recognizing same-sex marriages (with New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch vetoing the bill, “asking the legislature to include language that would protect churches and other religious institutions from prosecution if, for example, they refuse to perform same-sex marriages.“)

With gay marriage remaining at the forefront of our national consciousness, the Republican Party, seeking to rebuild after losses in two successive national elections, struggles to address the issue without alienating young voters and socially liberal urban and suburbanites who share the GOP’s fiscal and national security principles, but are wary of backing socially conservative candidates.

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

Liberals Who Insist on Politicizing Everything

It seems some on the left, including the President of the United States, just can’t help themselves.  They seem to feel it necessary to politicize everything, including Memorial Day.  In his radio address Saturday, Obama took time off from saluting our servicemen and women to take a swipe at his predecessor:

Our fighting men and women – and the military families who love them – embody what is best in America. And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us.

And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility. We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve. That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear – and all who have worn – the proud uniform of our country.

Even if his predecessor failed to show service members the respect they deserve (and there is no evidence he did), a Memorial Day message is not the place to make political statements.  It is the time to honor the troops.

That’s what I, like so many columnists and bloggers (on both sides of the political aisle), did yesterday.  In my post, I made no political statement, attacked no Democrat, praised no Republican (politician).  I saluted only those who sacrificed, singling out the last surviving World War I veteran for praise.  Yet, one of our perennial critics felt it incumbent upon himself to use the comment section to that post to snap at us and, like Obama, take a shot at the immediate past President of the United States.

With Obama, such cheap shots belie his rhetoric of being a post-partisan leader.  With our critics, is is the mark of a strange obsession.  Some feel they just have to attack us–and by extension all conservatives.  Others feels compelled to badmouth Bush whenever they can, bringing up the former President in comment threads attached to posts where we don’t even mention the Republican’s name nor refer to him in any manner whatsoever.