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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sad News on the Marriage Equality Front

What most of us expected, and dreaded, came true today. In a 6-1 ruling, the California Supreme Court made the decision today to uphold Proposition 8, the initiative that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples in California

However, on a more positive note, the court did rule that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place last year after the court’s previous ruling that gays and lesbians could not be denied the right to marry each other, would remain valid.

Although the immediate impact of the decision is on the status of marriage for same-sex couples, the real question for the court was deciding what kinds of changes to the Constitution make it an amendment, requiring only a simple majority vote of the electorate, and what make it a revision, requiring a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature and a simple majority vote of the people. By ruling that Prop 8 was truly an amendment, the court found the will of the majority (in California) is enough to strike down the rights of a minority because doing so does not change the fundamental nature of the governmental process.

However, LGBT activists believe that this interpretation of Proposition 8 takes away fundamental safeguards for all minority groups, showing another example of how the power of a majority over an underrepresented and historically oppressed minority can prove to be devastating.

So what happened to the words of our Constitution, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Do these words only apply to some? Are we really just second class citizens?

Well, the one thing I do know is that this is not the end of marriage equality in California. In 2010 there will be another initiative before California voters that will try again to overturn Prop 8. And with five states now allowing gay marriage, and more expected to join this year, it is only inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal in California, it will just be a matter of time.

1 comment:

TAKA LAKA said...

Hello there,

Yes indeed, the news was very sad. Thankfully, the court did not take away marriage status of the gay couples before Prop 8 passed. It is outraging that the supporters of Prop8 is dissatisfied with the court ruling because of it.

Either way, the fight will continue.


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