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My take on the Prop 8 decision.

I've been looking over the California Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 (took me a while - it's over 125 pages long), approved by the majority of Cali voters last year, which added Section 7.5 to Article I of the California Constitution.

Okay, like many people, when I first heard about the decision, I was pissed off and started re-thinking the notion of California being a progressive state. But looking into the results a bit more got me thinking. Notes:
  1. At the time of the ruling, there were 18,000 same-sex marriages in California.

  2. This new article of the Cali constitution states that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

  3. The ruling also suggests that same-sex couples should be afforded all the same legal rights that male-female couples get to enjoy... but they can't call it "marriage."

  4. The ruling goes to great lengths to point out that Californians can change their constitution about as easily as most people change socks, noting how much more difficult it is to do so than it is to change the US Constitution.

  5. The ruling states that people in existing same-sex marriages that were legally performed (before Prop 8 was in force) get to stay married.

  6. That means 18,000 same-sex marriages in California are legal.

  7. Therefore, 6 invalidates 2.

  8. Therefore, this ruling says that - even though Prop 8 was legally pushed forward and Section 7.5 of article I of the California Constitution is legal and binding, it is meaningless and contradictory.
So my overall reading of the ruling is this: The California Supremes are giving the Prop-Eighters exactly what they asked for... whether it’s what they wanted or not.

And that's a good thing for human rights.

Now if only they could get as up-to-date as Iowa ;-)



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
Don't put too much weight on #7. What, you thought law was simple and obvious? "Grandfathering" in pre-existing variances is commonplace. When courts do wipe it out, they don't do it by extending the variances to everyone, but by eliminating the grandfathered variances. The exception is when they find the original statute that spurred the grandfathering is itself invalid, which expressly did not happen here. They upheld.

Yeah, the way I read the decision they pretty much let the pro Prop 8 people have their cherished label, while reiterating that Domestic Partnerships in California were otherwise entitled to all the "rights, privileges, and responsibilites" of marriage, and grandfathering in the legally-made pre-Prop8 SS marriages.

As near as I can tell, the only difference under California law now between a CDP and a pre-Prop8 SS marriage is the label. So now there are three classes of legally committed relationships in California: OS marriages, SS marriages, and CDP's. All of which have the same "rights, privileges, and responsibilites" as far as the courts there are concerned.
May. 27th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the clarifications.

See, this is why I'm not a lawyer.
May. 27th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
And so much for inalienable rights...
May. 27th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
New York's is shortly to go to the State Senate. There are some important swing votes and some people who will definitely vote "no," no matter what their constituents want. But there are also some likely "yes" votes. It's a lot tighter than the Assembly vote was.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )