Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Supreme Court Validates Gay Marriage


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the state cannot bar same-sex marriages, marking a major victory for gay rights advocates that may have national implications.

"Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest," the court said in a majority decision.

"Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."


Read the rest of the report here.

For the legal eagles who want the full decision here is a link to all 178 pages of it.

For those of us who want an abridged version, here is the gist of things:

Page 107:

In the present case, the question before us is whether the state has a constitutionally compelling interest in reserving the designation of marriage only for opposite-sex couples and excluding same-sex couples from access to that designation, and whether this statutory restriction is necessary to serve a compelling state interest.


page 108:

"throughout this state’s history the Legislature, of course, has effected numerous fundamental changes in the institution of marriage, dramatically altering its nature from how it existed at common law."


In contrast to the position advanced by the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund and the Campaign, the Attorney General and the Governor recognize that the California Constitution does not define or limit the marriage relationship to a union of a man and a woman.


on Page 111 we find some legaleze I have had translated for me:

"By the same token, the circumstance that the limitation of marriage to a union between a man and a woman embodied in section 308.5 was enacted as an initiative measure by a vote of the electorate similarly neither exempts the statutory provision from constitutional scrutiny nor justifies a more deferential standard of review. Although California decisions consistently and vigorously have safeguarded the right of voters to exercise the authority afforded by the initiative process (see, e.g., Associated Home Builders, etc., Inc. v. City of Livermore (1976) 18 Cal.3d 582, 591), our past cases at the same time uniformly establish that initiative measures adopted by the electorate are subject to the same constitutional limitations that apply to statutes adopted by the Legislature, and our courts have not hesitated to invalidate measures enacted through the initiative process when they run afoul of constitutional guarantees provided by either the federal or California Constitution."


Translation:

"It is my belief that the statement holds that a constitutional amendment motivated by voter referendum has the same constitutionally mandated burden of judicial review and due process as any there legistlature motivated statute."
~Raymond A. Grinnell IV


In a nutshell this means were this petition to change the constitution to be approved by voters it will bring the process back to the same judicial body that just said they approved marriage equality. This of course will send the opponents of equality to find relief from the federal government, setting the stage for a federal court fight where the Supreme Court will have to rule for all states at once. This is something they are desperately hoping to avoid.

"Instead of presuming the validity of the statutes defining marriage and establishing domestic partnership, in effect the majority presumes them to be constitutionally invalid by characterizing domestic partnership as a 'mark of second-class citizenship.'" - California Supreme Court

"An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely. " - CNN
(Both above quoted from queertoday.com)

Opponents of marriage equality in Califonia are pressing on with their petition to put discrimination in their constitution, but the their supreme court, legislators, and governator against them someone needs to call in the fat lady.

Thank you California, and welcome to the land of the free!

For more reading on this subject visit:

KnowThyNeighbor.org
MassMarrier

23 comments:

Fannie said...

Yahoooooo!

(Cue the backlash....)

John said...

Sweet !!!

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Everybody knows an ant can't move a rubber tree plant!

But he's got high hopes,
He's got high hopes!

Whooops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

Sing it with me Paul! ;)

Alex said...

It isn't over yet. A Constitutional Amendment banning so called same-sex "marriage" will send this California decision where it belongs: to the dustbin of history.

We are more determined than ever to fight this abomination.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Like I said before Alex, the state supreme court, legislators, and governor are all against bigotry, so good luck with your cause.

While you consider what to say in return perhaps you could give us an understanding of society's need to limit marriage and exclude GLBT people from marrying who they want?

There has been 4 years of equality here in Massachusetts and the sky has not yet fallen. How long does it take before we will see the negative effects?

Can you tell us how you personally have been effected? What rights you've had to give up or things that have even inconvenienced you as a result of marriage equality?

Paul Jamieson said...

Its actually a chant Hosty - and it goes like this

Let the People Vote!
Let the People Vote!

California Votes!
California Votes!

Let America vote!
Let America vote!

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

This vote that you want may just happen, although it will happen after thousands have already been married. That vote, if successful, would be invalidated by the fact that the California Supreme Court has already recognized our right to full and equal marriage as being protected by the Constitution:

page 111 of the CA SJC decision:
"...our past cases at the same time uniformly establish that initiative measures adopted by the electorate are subject to the same constitutional limitations that apply to statutes adopted by the Legislature, and our courts have not hesitated to invalidate measures enacted through the initiative process when they run afoul of constitutional guarantees provided by either the federal or California Constitution."

Paul Jamieson said...

yes - but at least the people will be able to vote

and the Govenor says he wants to abide by the will of the people

John said...

LOL, the governor flat said it was for the courts to decide.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul, you might want to inform youself on the Governator's decision:

http://livelovelearn247.blogspot.com/2008/04/yuotube-video-of-governators-stand-for.html

He said flat out that he would fight against the amendment, thought that it was a waste of time, and that Californians we smarter than allowing such a measure to go through.

You know in a way I kinda wish there had been a vote of the people here, just so that people like you would not have that point of contention.

The only trouble with that is those people who want a vote are not satisfied even when they get one if it does not go there way. I cite Arizona as my example. The people flat out voted the amendment down, yet those opponents of equality have come back to waste more time and try to delay the inevitable.

In 2000 we had one state that had civil unions; Vermont. Only 8 years later we have various levels of equality in 10 states, also in D.C., and same sex marriages are recognized in RI, NM, and now even NY!

This represents more than 25% of the national population. We've come a long way baby!

Paul Jamieson said...

"You know in a way I kinda wish there had been a vote of the people here, just so that people like you would not have that point of contention."

Good Hosty - I am glad to see you coming around.

The vote was your biggest nightmare though and you would not have liked the outcome


and stop crying about Arizona

Like you and your side have never wasted anyone's time with all of this foolishness to begin with

John said...

"The vote was your biggest nightmare though and you would not have liked the outcome"

I agree; most people are decent, but stupid. A vocal, ignorant minority will always show up any time they get the chance to deny other's rights.

Paul Jamieson said...

That was not what I was implying Toleos

Its actually a vocal majority who don't believe that gay marriage is a right

The vocal ignorant minority are you and your lackeys suing everyone for your special rights

Isn't that special

Paul Jamieson said...

The sky has fallen Hosty

The right to vote was denied the people

Cities and towns across the commonwealth are fighting against this legal precedent being used as a curriculum enhancer in the schools

Massachusetts is the laughing stock of the nation and companies are leaving in droves

People are leaving in droves as well, unable to live in a stste that denies them a petition process and mocks their will to participate in the democratic process

please don't imply that the sky hasn't fallen, Massachusetts is a mess

John said...

"Its actually a vocal majority who don't believe that gay marriage is a right

That is demonstrably false.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

"Like you and your side have never wasted anyone's time with all of this foolishness to begin with."

Stop right there. I'm not doing anything wrong by standing up for what I believe in. That's the American way.

Have you ever noticed how angry you sound all the time? What a waste of energy and time. Better yet, what a waste of the gift of life.

Here's my advice Paul. If you are geniunely concerned about a gay agenda why not make a few gay friends and see what GLBT are really like. It seems clear to me that you are either deathly afraid of gays, or you're just a miserable mean spirited man.

Sorry if that stings but it seems true, so I'm saying it out loud.

Paul Jamieson said...

"Coalition for Marriage and Family Inc. Uses Hate and Fear in Soliciting Donations"

sounds like Mass Equality, Know Thy Neighbor and YOU

you do the same thing Hosty

I have gay friends who want nothing to do with your agenda

and I am quite happy thank you

Paul Jamieson said...

"That is demonstrably false"

How is that John?

a vote was never taken

John said...

A vote is one of the poorest forms of Democracy.

We know that most people are fine with gay marriage, because the subject almost never comes up outside the blogoshere.

When you take a vote all you do is empower the moron minority.

In every election voter turnout is what? 30%?

So if you were to get your vote you might get 55% of 30%.

A large minority, to be sure, but a minority nonetheless.

Paul Jamieson said...

you ought to get out more

It sounds like you spend all your time in the blogosphere

"We know that most people are fine with gay marriage, because the subject almost never comes up outside the blogoshere."

LOL

This is your "demonstrably false" proof

hahahah

How about this John

Hillary, Barak and McCain are ALL against gay marriage

How many people do you think THEY represent?????

John said...

"How many people do you think THEY represent?????"

You're probably right, Nationwide.

I was thinking merely of Massachusetts where the issue is settled to the satisfaction of all but a few noisy wingnuts.

But I concede the majority of the country has a way to go yet.

(Hell, if you took a vote in the South, Jim Crow would win)

Paul Jamieson said...

"(Hell, if you took a vote in the South, Jim Crow would win)"

another myth

"I'm not doing anything wrong by standing up for what I believe in. That's the American way."

Ditto Hosty - if you would only live by that example, we wouldn't have a problem. But you are determined to vilify and slander people who are doing the same thing.

Which is why I always come back to the great equalizer;

LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!!!!

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul, there's not going to be a vote in Massachusetts; it's over.

Marriage equality is here to last. You can't control people you don't agree with by voting away their rights.

Now that California has joined us we will have a shorter struggle to the day when all states celebrate equality.

In 2000 Vermont stood alone as the only state that offered any sort of rights for gay couples. Today we have varying forms of relationship rights in CA, MA, ME, NH, CT, NJ, OR, WA, HI, DC, and we have gay marriages recognized in NM and RI.

More than 1 in 4 Americans (77 million) live in a state that understands the need for equality and has moved their laws in that direction. VT, NH, CT, and NJ are challenging themselves to go to full marriage equality just as CA has done.

I will always defend your right to say what you will and to live as freely as you choose so long as it is not at the expense of others. It's a pity you can't see the value of that philosophy and return it in ernest.

I have challenged you before to explain how you have even been inconvenienced by my marriage, but you always come up dry. If you have worthy points, make them. We are here to debate this issue, right?