LAT-Dana Parsons on Marriage Equality Ruling

Most people know how I probably feel about the Marriage Equality Ruling. And while I may still write my thoughts on the subject, I figure the thoughs of a heterosexual man who writes for the LATimes are also important to be shared.

Same-sex marriage is no threat to society
Dana Parsons

May 17, 2008

Being a heterosexual male — not that there’s anything wrong with that — the gay-marriage debate doesn’t hit me where I live. If I had half a brain, I’d just leave the subject alone because you know how some people get when the topic is raised.

Nonetheless . . .

In overturning a ban against same-sex marriages, the California Supreme Court this week has put the hot potato back on the table, so there’s no use in hiding from it.

I’m trying to figure how the decision will make my life worse. And, almost as important, how it will make society worse.

So far, I’m coming up empty on both counts.

Perhaps you’re thinking, Yeah, but you’re a wild-eyed radical who doesn’t care about traditional social institutions.

Ha, shows what you know.

I’m a social order freak. Even if my politics liberalized as I grew up, my sense of traditional values didn’t. Unlike Thomas Jefferson, I don’t want to have a social rebellion every 20 years. How about some peace and quiet instead?

And gay marriage will disrupt the social order by doing what exactly?  Read More  

  3 comments for “LAT-Dana Parsons on Marriage Equality Ruling

  1. Joey
    May 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I’m only concerned about the re-election efforts of Janet Nguyen. I think for those of us who dislike racism, whether it’s racism a year ago or now, this is the the primary concern for Hispanics.

    Janet is not a friend of Hispanics, she and her close friends lump together as “Mexicans”

    As far as Marraige Admendment, I say we Hispanic also reciprocate the same favor that Gay activist like Chris have for people “who hate Mexicans” and let’s Hispanics say “Who cares” to the a so-called discriminated group.

  2. cabana republicana
    May 18, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Is The Proposed “Limit on Marriage” Constitutional Initiative Too Late?

    The recent California Constitutional Right to Marry case, according to independent analysis, calls into question the currently proposed “Limit to Marry” Voter Initiative Constitutional Initiative. If Secretary of State Debra Bowen places it on the ballot, she would be wise to have the Legislative Analysts’s opinion consider the following cited cases and also discuss the issue with Attorney General Jerry Brown to inquire whether or not the proposed initiative can even be legally placed on the ballot.

    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly member Mark Leno, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, and Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors, and one of the main attorneys on the winning side of the marriage case, David Codell would be wise to immediately contact Bowen and Brown to raise the issue of the legality of the proposed initiative so that the voters of California are properly informed that there may be a potential problem in enacting the initiative if it passes this November (assuming it qualifies for the ballot).
    As noted in McFadden v. Jordan (1948) 32 Cal.2d 330, 333: “The initiative power reserved by the people by amendment to the Constitution in 1911 (art. IV, s 1) applies only to the proposing and the adopting or rejecting of ‘laws and amendments to the Constitution’ and does not purport to extend to a constitutional revision.”
    The proposed initiative appears to now attempt to revise the California Constitution to remove the equal protection that gays and lesbians are now afforded under the California Constitution. With that in mind, the Secretary of State must be aware of the following case:
    Rippon v. Bowen (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1313:
    Article XVIII of the California Constitution allows for amendment of the Constitution by the Legislature, or initiative and revision of the Constitution by the Legislature, or a constitutional convention. There is no other method for revising or amending the Constitution. ( Livermore v. Waite (1894) 102 Cal. 113, 117, 36 P. 424 ( Livermore ).)…
    “ ‘[A]mendment’ implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it was framed.” ( Livermore, supra, 102 Cal. at pp. 118-119, 36 P. 424.) The “revision/amendment analysis has a dual aspect, requiring us to examine both the quantitative and qualitative effects of the measure on our constitutional scheme. Substantial changes in either respect could amount to a revision.” ( Raven v. Deukmejian (1990) 52 Cal.3d 336, 350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077 ( Raven ).) “[A]n enactment which is so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the ‘substantial entirety’ of the Constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing provisions may well constitute a revision thereof. However, even a relatively simple enactment may accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision also.” ( Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 223, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281 ( Amador ).)

    According to the In Re Marriage Cases (May 15, 2008) 2008 WL 2051892: “Although our state Constitution does not contain any explicit reference to a “right to marry,” past California cases establish beyond question that the right to marry is a fundamental right whose protection is guaranteed to all persons by the California Constitution…. In light of the fundamental nature of the substantive rights embodied in the right to marry – and their central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society – the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation. ”
    The proposed initiative originally sought to limit the Constitutional right to marry to opposite sex couples and, thus as originally drafted, it was intended to limit the right to marry to a man and a woman. But an amendment can no longer accomplish this. The Right to Marry exists and in light of the recent ruling, the initiative’s unintended consequence is an attempt to revise (as opposed to amend) the Constitution which, as explained in In Re Marriage Cases (May 15, 2008) 2008 WL 2051892, is a fundamental Constructional right to “all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation.”
    “Whether an initiative constitutes an amendment or revision to the Constitution does not necessarily depend on the number of constitutional provisions it affects, but on the nature of the changes it makes. (Grodin et al., The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide, supra, at pp. 303-304.) For a revision to be found, “it must necessarily or inevitably appear from the face of the challenged provision that the measure will substantially alter the basic governmental framework set forth in our Constitution.” See California Assn. of Retail Tobacconists v. State of California (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 792, 833-834 (quote set forth more fully below).
    As Justice Moreno noted in a concurring opinion in Californians For An Open Primary v. McPherson (2006) 38 Cal.4th 735, 788:
    Voters can propose amendments to the Constitution that will be placed on the ballot if the requisite number of signatures are obtained, but they may not propose constitutional revisions. (See Cal. Const., art. XVIII, § 3; Raven v. Deukmejian (1990) 52 Cal.3d 336, 349, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077.)
    See California Assn. of Retail Tobacconists v. State of California (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 792, 833-834:
    Although the electorate may amend the Constitution by initiative (art. XVIII, § 3), a revision of the Constitution may be accomplished only by a constitutional convention and popular ratification (art. XVIII, § 2) or by legislative submission of the measure to the electorate (art. XVIII, § 1). ( Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 349, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 221, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.) It has been suggested “the revision provision is based on the principle that ‘comprehensive changes’ to the Constitution require more formality, discussion and deliberation than is available through the initiative process. [Citation.]” ( Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 349-350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; cf. Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 506, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.) The revision/amendment analysis requires the court “to examine both the quantitative and qualitative effects of the measure on our constitutional scheme[, as] [s]ubstantial changes in either respect could amount to a revision. [Citations.]” ( Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 506, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.) Whether an initiative constitutes an amendment or revision to the Constitution does not necessarily depend on the number of constitutional provisions it affects, but on the nature of the changes it makes. (Grodin et al., The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide, supra, at pp. 303-304.) For a revision to be found, “it must necessarily or inevitably appear from the face of the challenged provision that the measure will substantially alter the basic governmental framework set forth in our Constitution. [Citations.]” ( Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 510, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309, original italics.)

    Therefore Schwarzenegger, Bowen, Leno, and Newsome should use their constitutional powers to obtain an opinion of the Attorney General as to whether the initiative is an amendment or a revision that would revise the equal protection clause as it relates to gays and lesbians.

  3. May 18, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Cabana Republicana, welcome to the blog! I enjoy your comments over on Red County.

    You make an interesting point. I didn’t read all the cites, but I get the idea. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

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