Look what I found in today’s New York Times. Apparently, they can’t see why the California Supreme Court should allow Prop H8 to stand. Why?
The court has correctly determined that the equal protection clause prohibits governmental discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which extends the right of marriage to same-sex couples. But the issue goes well beyond gay rights. Allowing Proposition 8 to stand would greatly limit the court’s ability to uphold the basic rights of all Californians and preclude the Legislature from performing its constitutional duty to weigh such monumental changes before they go to voters.
Treating Proposition 8 as a mere amendment would set a precedent that could allow the rights of any minority group to be diminished by a small majority. The measure passed 52 percent to 48 percent.
In California, sitting judges are subject to elections, and some supporters of Proposition 8 raise the threat of trying to oust justices who do not go along with trouncing on people’s rights and proper constitutional procedure. We trust the court will not be intimidated. The justices’ job is to protect minority rights and the State Constitution even when, for the moment at least, it may not be the popular thing to do.
That last sentence is priceless. Protecting people’s basic civil rights isn’t always popular. After all, the state supreme court had to overturn a popular initiative banning interracial marriage in 1948 and an illegal constitutional revision disguised as an “amendment” (just like H8) curtailing criminal defendants’ rights in court in 1990. Just because it wasn’t popular at the time doesn’t make it wrong or “immoral”.
That’s why the court must not allow itself to be intimidated by the mixed messages of “recall” being sent by the Yes on 8 campaign. Let the judges decide. And hopefully, they’ll do as the law tells them and people’s rights will be protected.