California’s Same-Sex Marriage Trial

California’s Same-Sex Marriage Trial June 29, 2010

I know the topic of same sex marriage has been discussed here before, but with the recent court case in California, I wanted to put in my proverbial two cents.

On June 16, 2010, a federal court judge in California heard closing arguments in what could be a landmark case. Two couples, one gay, one lesbian, are suing the State of California, arguing that Proposition 8, which denies same sex couples the right to marriage, is a violation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am14.html)

Let me state very clearly that I am a supporter of same-sex marriages. I believe very strongly that one day we will look back at opposition to same-sex marriage in the same light that we now view opposition to interracial marriage. That it will be something we say “I can’t believe people used to think that way!”

I don’t think this is specifically a “Pagan” position, but Paganism does tend to be much more open and accepting than some faiths. In my tradition, we not only recognize masculine and feminine aspects of the Divine, but that those aspects are in each of us. With whom we express our feelings of joy, love and commitment is not important to the Lord and Lady, just that we do express them.

That being said, I think there are some very telling aspects of this particular case and one very important question being missed.

The first is the identities of the attorneys for both the plaintiffs and the State.

The plaintiffs are being led by David Boies and Ted Olson. These are the same two men who opposed each other in front of the Supreme Court in the case of Bush v. Gore in 2000. You remember that little case? The one in which the simple matter of a presidential election was decided? Yes, that one.

And you would think the State is being represented by the State Attorney General. Not so. Neither the California Attorney General (Jerry Brown) nor Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped up to defend Proposition 8. It’s being defended by Andy Pugno (attorney of the conservative advocacy group Protect Marriage) and former Justice Department attorney Charles Cooper.

What does it say about a law when two attorneys from VERY opposite sides of the fence team up to oppose it?


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  • Sara A.

    Inheritance doesn’t just apply to children; a spouse is considered the legal heir if the other spouse dies. This has proven to be important in more than one case, where the blood relatives have contested wills in which a same-sex partner was named as primary or sole heir. They have won, too, sometimes leaving the partner with nothing after having invested decades into a place. There’s also the issue of visitation rights and medical decisions.

    I think that the state has interest in all of those things. Laws step in when people can’t be relied upon to treat one another fairly. Until we live in a world where nobody gets denied inheritance or visitation (or health insurance) because they are in a same-sex partnership, it’s going to matter.

  • Greenman

    My understanding is that historically Marriage was the last Sacrament added to the list. It’s all about property. The rich needed ways to guarantee that money and property stayed intact…..And the poor? Well if you had no property or money then who cared. The church closed off priesthood or the professional religious life to bastards thus making them “illegitimate”.
    I agree that the state needs to be involved in protecting marriage but that should be ALL marriages. But you know what? I’ll bet most who rerad this blog already agree with that!

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