Thursday, March 5, 2009

Marriage equality fight heads back to California Supreme Court

Read about it here and here and here. The issue centers around whether Proposition 8, passed last November by 52% of California voters, is an unjust deprivation of equality rights in that state's constitution.

"What Proposition 8 accomplishes, if it were upheld by this court, is to establish the constitutional principle that a majority can take away a fundamental right from a group defined as a suspect class" that has already suffered a history of discrimination, said Shannon P. Minter, lead counsel for those petitioning the state's high court to invalidate Proposition 8.

Such a profound change should've been approved by the state's legislature before proceeding to a vote, equality supporters argue.

I am so with them on this issue, as regular readers know. Any legal means to stop unjust, legalized discrimination must be taken. The Supreme Court will rule later on the issue.

In the mean time, supporters of equality have launched a campaign against lawyer Ken Starr, who's leading the anti-gay fight in California's court. Starr has said the marriage ban should stand because of the state's role in protecting the welfare of children. The Human Rights Campaign has said of Starr's arguments: "The hypocrisy of "protecting" children by divorcing their parents is unconscionable. Yet this is just one in a parade of outrageous lies by right-wing extremists."

So they've launched the following petition. Click here to sign it.


Anonymous said...

Here's hoping Prop 8 is overturned!

Makes me feel lucky I live in Canada.

Objectivist said...

the overturn of the decision of the voters by the courts would be the end of democracy. You liberals need to admit defeat on this

Matt Guerin said...

We won't give up the fight until we get what we deserve which is full equality under the law, including full marriage rights in the U.S. The majority cannot be counted on to protect the rights of minorities. That's why such referenda never happen in Canada - because we acknowledge that minority rights should never be subject to popular vote, particularly when many heterosexuals continue to hold such bigoted, uneducated prejudices based on hocus pocus religious beliefs.

Objectivist said...

The voters have the rights to protect what they see as marriage and not subject it to redefinition because a group appealed to the courts. If you want something giving another chance argue your case and put on the ballot.

Objectivist said...

the majority has no right to vote AWAY the right of the minority. The minority has no right to claim something.
the greatest minority is the individual

Matt Guerin said...

The majority did vote away the rights of a minority in California, based on homophobic prejudice and the wrong belief that homosexuality is sinful. Civil law should not be based on any one group's religious beliefs in a secular democracy. Church and state are divided. Laws need to treat everyone equally, laws cannot pinpoint one community and say it can be treated differently than the rest unless there is a compelling reason to do so. In marriage law, there isn't a compelling reason to exclude gays. The only reason is so that religious straights can continue to feel superior by order of their God. Gays being able to marry doesn't stop straights from being able to marry.

Civil marriage should include gays and lesbians. Religious marriages are up to the religions to decide who can marry and who cannot. Changing the law doesn't change the rules in individual churches nor should it.

Objectivist said...

gays have never had the right to marry therefore the voters haven't taken that right away. I'm all for gays having something with the equal rights of marriage but why redefine something? It's not necessary

Matt Guerin said...

Gays won the right to marry in California in June 2008 due to the California Supreme Court ruling. Whether by court or by the legislature, the right was granted. Voters thus were voting on whether to allow gays to continue to have the right to marry or to take it away.

Civil marriage has been defined and re-defined over and over since its inception. In many places, it includes one man with several women. It used to only include people of the same race. It used to merely mean the transfer of ownership of the daughter from the father to the new husband.

I see no reason today why a society can't redefine its civil definition of marriage to include same sex couples. Equality provisions in constitutions should make that inevitable. The problem here is American voters are ignoring those obligations and voting to put discrimination into their constitutions on this question. History teaches us that we embrace equality eventually.