NY Times on The Court’s Prop 8 Challenge

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?

Read this:

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.

  7 comments for “NY Times on The Court’s Prop 8 Challenge

  1. Rob
    November 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    BULLSQUAT!

    Prop 8 is not about rights……….it is not discriminatory!!

    It is about the definition of marriage.

    Get a life

  2. The Lovable Curmudgeon
    November 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Hey Rob-
    When was the last time we DEFINED a word by voting on it?
    Language, like everything EVOLVES.
    Millions of Californinans had a right on November 3rd that they no longer have today.
    Why don’t YOU understand that?

  3. November 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    LC-

    Thanks. I guess Rob keeps forgetting that he doesn’t want me to have a life & he doesn’t want me to have any rights. Whatever. We’ll undo H8. We’ll undo it in court and/or on the ballot.

    Love always overcomes H8.

  4. Opinion
    November 26, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Andrew forgot that Prop 8 is not about rights at all, period. We Gays do not have less “rights” now than before, we simply cannot legally refer to our cohabitation as “marriage”. IMO Big whoop! We have rights and they will always be protected by the government.

    So you’re telling me it’s all semantics then?

    Pretty much! Semantics so important that both sides have wasted truckloads of cash spreading scare tactic stories about society crumbling over a word’s definition.

    I got a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite…marriage itself is a dying institution. Statistics show population is up…marriage is down. 50% of those marriages that do happen fail, most within the first year. Forward-thinking people would be wise to pay attention to these changing trends…trends with more far-reaching implications than a silly proposition.
    I say let the traditionalists have their word: marriage. Prop 8 opponents will likely win entry into the “marriage club”…but what have they won? They’re not going to be suddenly, wholeheartedly accepted into society just because they can refer to their unions as marriages…it’s a farce. If anything, enacting change on society with such force (52% oppose it!!!) will only serve to fragment it and create resentment where there once was tolerance if not acceptance.
    Change takes time. We should strive to create a new society with bold new ideas and instruments to implement them, instead of trying to bend and contort the old instruments to new purposes. I say we let it go.

  5. Lilian
    November 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Actually, opinion, it is more than semantics. Having different “words” for gays and straights goes against what we stand for as a country. Separate but equal was long ago found to be unacceptable. That’s the equivalent of wondering why African-Americans were complaining that they had to use different bathrooms and sit at the back of the bus. Once they were equal and integrated, we realized they weren’t big bad scary monsters who eat babies. Same with gays and our marriage. They will see we are equal and be more likely to treat us as such.

  6. November 26, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Opinion-

    Well, that’s your opinion. And guess what? It sounds awfully similar to a US Supreme Court ruling in 1896. Remember “Plessy v. Ferguson”? What’s so bad with “separate but equal”?

    Some 58 years later, the Court revisited that flawed decision… And they concluded that separate is NEVER “equal”. That’s the purpose of segregation. “Jim Crow” was designed so that racial minorities were always “the other”, the ones not worthy of accessing places and services “for whites only”. And today, the anti-marriage campaign wants to segregate gay & lesbian couples into “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” (and we’re only “lucky” here in CA that we have those, unlike FL & AZ where there’s nada) that are never “just like marriage” because they can never be marriage.

    And don’t feel too smug about all those other “rights” if H8 stands. I’ve heard from folks with inside connections to Yes on H8, and they’re telling me they’re already thinking of targeting adoption rights next… And domestic partner benefits after that. Don’t be fooled, the H8ers won’t be satisfied until we’re all shoved back in the closet for good.

    That’s why this fight is so important. Separate is NOT equal. No minority group should be vulnerable to discrimination at the hands of a 50%+1 majority. I’m confident that support for equality for all will continue to grow & strengthen to the point where we’ll never have to worry about crap like H8 ever again, but until then there’s no problem with letting the court do its job in protecting minority rights.

  7. November 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Andrew and Lilian, why do you keep the question so abstract, with the “separate but equal” talk? Not being able to legally marry means specific injustices: gay couples are denied a whole array of crucial marriage-based tax, pension, visitation, inheritance, immigration/citizenship and legal standing rights that straight married couples enjoy.

    That’s why I doubt “Opinion” is really gay, or he/she would know all that.

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