No honeymoon for gay marriage in California

Everybody knew that Tuesday’s ruling on Proposition 8 from the California Supreme Court could only be another charged moment in a long and continuing battle. Even though the 18,000 marriages that followed a favorable court decision here last May will stand, Tuesday’s decision upholding the ban on gay marriage was a near-term victory for social conservatives.

The court had signaled back in March its reluctance to intervene in the ballot initiative process and overturn the will of the voters. But the lone dissenter in the 6-1 decision Tuesday, Justice Carlos Moreno, wrote eloquently (see pp.151-175) about just how much is at stake:

The rule the majority crafts today not only allows same-sex couples to be stripped of the right to marry that this court recognized in the Marriage Cases, it places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities. It weakens the status of our state Constitution as a bulwark of fundamental rights for minorities protected from the will of the majority.

If California invariably serves as America’s cultural vanguard, what seems odd now is how the state appears to be behind the times. Iowa, of all places, is looking more socially progressive. Moreno cited the recent decision striking down a ban on gay marriage by that state’s high court, whose justices pointed out “the long and painful history of discrimination against gay and lesbian persons” in many parts of the country.

Moreno continued: “I realize, of course, that the right of gays and lesbians to marry in this state has only lately been recognized. But that belated recognition does not make the protection of those rights less important. Rather, that the right has only recently been acknowledged reflects an age-old prejudice … that makes the safeguarding of that right by the judiciary all the more critical.”

Reactions on both sides of the ruling have been heated, to say the least, and San Francisco is abuzz with demonstrations.


“Well, looks like religiously inspired hatred has won the day over the values this formerly great nation was founded on,” said one of nearly 1,800 commenters on Tuesday afternoon.

“Its not about equality folks. It’s about bowing down to the homosexual agenda or being called a bigot,” said another.

And as another made clear, the costly battle is far from over: “As expected from a legal standpoint, but nevertheless disappointing from the larger view of justice for all. Back to the voters and if the trend continues Prop 8 will be repealed by a decent majority in 2010. Onward!”


1 comment so far

  1. jonolan on

    It’s all worthless crap. Gays had all the same legal rights within the state of California with or without Prop 8. Nothing changed except a word that has no significant meaning under secular law.

    California recognizes both hetero- and homosexual Domestic Partnerships, which as of 2007 grant ALL – as in 100% – of the same rights and responsibilities as marriages under CA state law (see California Family Code §297.5)

    And of course DOMA still prevents gay marriages from receiving ANY federal recognition at all, So CA calling the married made no difference there.

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