The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Proposition 8 should be upheld — marriage would be restricted to “opposite-sex” couples. They added that the marriages of gay couples which occurred prior to Prop 8 would remain intact.
I’m not saying I like the ruling. I’ve said before that gay marriage ought to be legal and anyone standing in the way of that is completely misguided.
I also think it’s wrong for the majority to deny the rights of a minority. But that’s not what this ruling was about. California made the big mistake back in November, not yesterday.
Let me explain where I’m coming from: By my understanding, the gay-marriage side was arguing that Prop 8 was a constitution “revision” (a major change, as opposed to a minor “amendment”), and thus the state government needed to examine it first. The judges ruled against them, saying that Prop 8 was indeed an amendment (that the majority of voters supported) so it should be upheld.
Chief Justice Ronald George who wrote the majority opinion in this case was the same person who struck down the gay marriage ban last year.
The justices’ conclusion that Proposition 8 is not a constitutional revision doesn’t speak to the issue’s significance, George wrote. He noted that it was California’s initiative process that led to women’s voting rights, the reinstatement of the state’s death penalty and legislative term limits.
“Thus, it is clear that the distinction drawn by the California Constitution between an amendment and a revision does not turn on the relative importance of the measure but rather upon the measure’s scope,” he wrote.
If anything, this ruling will make it harder for anti-gay activists the next time around.
I realize there are gay couples who cannot get married in California for the time being, and that makes me sick.
I am optimistic, though, that when gay marriage gets put to a vote again (and it will, soon), the side of equality and love will win out.
This is a temporary setback for gay marriage, but (it seems to me) a correct legal ruling.
We’ll win this battle in the long run.
If you want to criticize what I’m writing here, don’t tell me why gay marriage should be legal. I know that it should be. Criticize the court’s decision and why their 6-1 ruling was not legally correct.