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Just like the last six posts on my friendslist
sword
tiger_spot
I have not got words.

But the California Supreme Court does.

"Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."

"One of the core elements of the right to establish an officially recognized family that is embodied in the California constitutional right to marry is a couple’s right to have their family relationship accorded dignity and respect equal to that accorded other officially recognized families, and assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same-sex couples while reserving the historic designation of “marriage” exclusively for opposite-sex couples poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect. We therefore conclude that . . . to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

"In the present case, it is readily apparent that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples clearly is more consistent with the probable legislative intent than withholding that designation from both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples in favor of some other, uniform designation."
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Interesting perspective

I heard about the decision this morning from a co-worker who happens to be in a long-term homosexual relationship. He was rather upset about this because he thinks it will swing the focus of the election to gay marriage and pull more of the conservative votes to McCain. (He introduced the topic by saying "Well, California just gave the White House to McCain.")

I can see where the worry is coming from and I thought it was an interesting perspective. I don't agree though.

Re: Interesting perspective

Hm. I don't see why a state having switched to marriage equality would be more threatening than the impending possibility of a state switching to marriage equality; I'd expect a roughly equal quantity of fulmination from conservative, er, fulminators in either case. Is he just concerned about the topic being mentioned at all? I could see perhaps a galvanizing effect on people who aren't listening to fulminators and weren't planning to vote, but would be upset enough by mention of marriage equality in the mainstream media or amongst their acquaintances that they'd go vote just to vote against it, even though they wouldn't have thought to do that if it hadn't just been mentioned. (Though I would think that'd be a pretty small group.) Or perhaps it'd give the fulminators focus after all; I don't know.

Re: Interesting perspective

I suspect the fear is now that there's been a concrete decision by the state Supreme Court, there is a solid reason for the opposition to mobilize for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which is already likely to be on the November ballot. While the issue was undecided, there wasn't as great a need for the opposition to push for the change -- but now there is something to actually overturn, and hey, now that you're at the polls anyway, you may as well vote for your conservative candidate for president! Something along those lines?

But I can't actually picture California's electoral college votes going to McCain though, no matter how many more voters this gets to the polls. I am incredibly naive when it comes to this sort of thing, though... :-)

Re: Interesting perspective

See, I don't get why "These laws have been declared unconstitutional, so we need to amend the constitution to put them back into place," is a more persuasive or energizing argument than "These laws are at risk of being declared unconstitutional, so we need to amend the constitution to protect them."

But then I am not the intended target here.

Re: Interesting perspective

The difference, I think, is mainly because risk is theoretical, whereas the declaration is known fact.

I also think the main concern is not California voters, but voters in other states for which this can be waved about as an example of how the country is going in all sorts of wrong directions and needs Strong Conservative Leadership in order to be Saved. It's a lot easier to wave around "same-sex couples are now getting married in California" for that sort of thing than it is "some state constitutions might contradict prohibitions on same-sex marriages", especially when one's using soundbites to do the waving.

Re: Interesting perspective

::points at Massachusetts::

Re: Interesting perspective

Yeah. While I can explain much of the logic of the concern, I do find that a rather key piece of evidence against it, and I don't really agree with it -- or find it at all compelling even if I did; I can't imagine wanting the judges to decide otherwise!

(There is, I suppose, the observation that one can be taken as an anomaly, and even Massachusetts and Vermont's civil unions might be an anomaly, but three -- with three, they might think it's a movement.)

(And a person hopes that, if they thought that, they'd be absolutely right, but that's a different matter.)


Edited at 2008-05-16 04:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Interesting perspective (Massachusetts)

"::points at Massachusetts::"

Mass. is a smallish state with not-so-many electoral votes, and it has been very socially liberal for a very long time. California, however, is huge and has lots of electoral votes. It's also known as liberal, but in reality Northern and Southern CA are pretty conservative. Not to mention we have a Republican gov.

So in the public's mind anyway, Mass. didn't have to face serious opposition, wheras CA did -- and the Court did the right thing anyway. Which must be pretty scary if you don't believe in the right thing.

All that said though, I still don't agree with my co-worker.

Re: Interesting perspective

I wonder if a hypothetical exercise in the opposite direction would be a reasonable analogy or go down the completely wrong path...

But because I often like playing devil's advocate, I'm going to create a completely contrived scenario. :-) (Ignore the complete non-feasibility of the proposal...)

Imagine that at the state level, Roe v. Wade has just been overturned. There have been enough signatures to get a motion on the November ballot that will forever guarantee a woman's right to an abortion in the state constitution. Would you be more likely to make your voice heard for that ballot issue under these conditions than you would at this very moment today?

Like I said, it's a contrived example and may not have any parallels to the gay marriage issue at all. But perhaps it does... *shrug*

Re: Interesting perspective

Personally, I would be exactly as likely to vote for the ballot issue. However, that is because I vote by mail, so I am guaranteed to know about everything that will be on the ballot, because they send me the darn thing so I don't have to go to any effort. (Speaking of which, I should read up on this June 3 stuff.)

If I didn't vote by mail, it would depend on whether I'd heard about the ballot initiative (or was even aware there was an election), not on how bad surrounding conditions were. I decide to vote for things based on whether they're a good idea, not whether they're immediately urgent or the only remaining possible way to address the problem. I'm not saying that this is normal voting behavior.

The argument could be made that if surrounding conditions were bad, I'd be more likely to hear about the initiative. This is possible. However, if there were such a proposal right now, I'm pretty sure I'd hear about it from various blogs and friends who keep track of things more carefully than I do. I probably wouldn't hear about it on the news, because I avoid political news[1] -- and whether it's on the news (or on flyers taped to telephone poles, or on yard signs, or being shoved in my face by Obnoxious Man With Petition at the train station) seems to be the factor that varies based on conditions. I assume that any person sufficiently against gay marriage to want to outlaw it, especially one who thinks it's important enough to amend a constitution to prevent, will similarly have a social circle who will keep him or her informed of actual voting opportunities, regardless of surrounding conditions. The argument that allowing gay marriage will encourage people to outlaw it seems to rely on the existence of a large pool of people who only care about the issue when prodded but are then against it enough to go vote in elections they wouldn't have attended.


[1] Actually, I used to follow more news. If the world gets back to a point where news-following is less depressing than it has been for a while, I might start again. But I've learned over the last several years that it's really not good for me, so I've been avoiding it.

Re: Interesting perspective

I saw it on one of the other LJ posts about this, here, too -- but, as joedecker points out in reply to that, people said the same thing about Massachusetts, but it didn't happen then. I don't see any particular reason to think California will be different.

It will be interesting to see how much people even notice this outside California. Fox News and CNN both mention it on the front page of their websites but are leading with other stories (in both cases, stories about individual people rather than world-affecting news), and USNews doesn't even mention it. (ABC and CBS news websites are leading with it, on the other hand.)

And, after all, it is California. Which, as your relatives have pointed out, is known to be strange and weird anyway. :)

Edited at 2008-05-15 09:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Interesting perspective

Yeah, I have a friend who works in DC who apparently had been hearing a very similar perspective about this issue. She's also concerned about what's going to happen when this issue hits the Supreme Court (I don't know if this particular case will.)

But ya know what? Since I hate politics and am not interested in the intricate plotting and bargaining that takes place behind closed doors in order to get shit like this done, I don't care. People shouldn't have to wait for rights like these at all, and states willing to give them shouldn't wait to do so because there's an election coming up other parts of the country might actually start paying attention to it. Human rights shouldn't have to wait for the correct time & place. Period.

I'm sorry, I know, I should learn to bide my time in my life as in my politics, I should learn to say 'let's wait for a convenient time to give you your rights, shall we?' But I can't do it in my own life (As we all know...) and I refuse to do it in my political beliefs. There is no convenient time to change society's paradigms. So you may as well try as early and often as you can.

California Supreme Court, you have earned my undying love.

Re: Interesting perspective

There is no convenient time to change society's paradigms. So you may as well try as early and often as you can.

Yeah. That.

(Also, potential political fallout of this sort strikes me as nebulous and unpredictable enough not to be practical to consider, even if considering it were more morally supportable.)

Re: Interesting perspective

I earned a 'yeah, that'! *grins*

Re: Interesting perspective

Words are hard; I like being able to point at other people's.

Re: Interesting perspective

I wasn't criticizing. I was basking in the recognition!

Re: Interesting perspective

California Supreme Court, you have earned my undying love.

I do find it interesting and encouraging that three of the four justices in the majority ruling were appointed by Republican governors. Also, Schwarzenegger has pledged to uphold the ruling and is on record as being opposed to any constitutional amendment that would overturn this ruling.

Re: Interesting perspective

Very encouraging. I approve of the sane republicans. The sane democrats, too.

I don't approve of almost anyone actually in politics, though. *shivers*

Re: Interesting perspective

I feel as though I should applaud your second paragraph. Indeed! :)

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