Does the ruling on Proposition 8 establish a dangerous precident?
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling today in Strauss v. Horton upholding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 today. Proposition 8 was passed last November to ammend the constitution to define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage that the Supreme Court of California had already established as a right. According to the ruling in Strauss v. Horton
"A majority of this court concluded in the Marriage Cases that same-sex couples, as well as opposite-sex couples, enjoy the protection of the constitutional right to marry embodied in the privacy and due process provisions of the California Constitution, and that by granting access to the designation of “marriage” to opposite-sex couples and denying such access to same-sex couples, the existing California marriage statutes impinged upon the privacy and due process rights of same-sex couples and violated those couples’ right to the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the California Constitution."
Essentially what they are saying is that they already established that same-sex couples had the right to marry under the constitution. The rest of the ruling goes on to say that Proposition 8 is legal because the people have a right to ammend the constitution. This establishes the precident that any right under the constitution can be taken away by a simpe majority of voters. This includes but is not limited to voting rights of any group, free speech rights of any group, freedom of religion rights of any group et cetera. Please do not let your opinion of same-sex marriage influence your position on this debate, it is irelevant. According to the California Supreme Court it was a right, and it was also able to be taken away by a majority. Does that logic frighten you?
Side Score: 50
Side Score: 20
I think my opinion was fairly clear in the description, but it frightens me that the California Supreme Court would affirm the right of same-sex marriages, yet allow a constitutional amendment to ban that right. The implications that this decision has are rather jarring. According to the California Supreme Court, any right you have can be taken away by a majority vote.
Before Canada allowed gay marriage (with a clause that specifically allowed religious ministers to abstain from the practice), they took gay marriage to the Supreme Court of Canada. Instead of mandating that gay marriages were a legal right under the Charter, they said that it was up to Parliament to make the decision. Interestingly though, lower courts ruled the other way in some provinces, mandating that it was a protected right.
People should realize that judges are human beings like us and they are just as conflicted over the constitutional "right" to gay marriage like we are. There is a saying that is very applicable here: Hard cases make bad law.
As for prop 8, when this gay marriage was debated in Canada in 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin was pressured to hold a public referendum. In his speech in parliament, he succinctly described why a referendum on gay marriage would be a terrible idea:
"The second argument ventured by opponents of the bill is that government ought to hold a national referendum on this issue. I reject this - not out of a disregard for the view of the people, but because it offends the very purpose of the Charter. [Canadian version of the Bill of Rights]
The Charter was enshrined to ensure that the rights of minorities are not subjected, are never subjected, to the will of the majority. The rights of Canadians who belong to a minority group must always be protected by virtue of their status as citizens, regardless of their numbers. These rights must never be left vulnerable to the impulses of the majority."
On minority rights cases, it is unacceptable to have the majority decide what's right for the minority. Gay marriage as an issue should have been over when the court ruled it as a constitutional right. Allowing people have a referendum to overturn a court decision on a minority rights issue defeats the whole purpose of having the judiciary rule to protect the right in the first place. If we let the public just do this whenever they so choose, we would not have legal abortion right now, for example.
It's not much as frightening as it is disappointing because it's one other topic showing how the government has no integrity. It's like a straight up lie, really; "you have the right to marry, but if the majority public doesn't want you (same sex couples) to marry, then you shall not." Wonderful. The government may as well just disappear since they have no balls to make sure the actual "rights" are being upheld.
I didn't know much about Prop 8 but now that I have looked at it, if I was an American living in America... I would get on my knees and pray to dear lord this isn't true.
Because according to this, the majority can take away people's freedom, their right to speech, their right on anything. How about the majority decides that blacks have a right to be free but they would rather take that right away from them?
This is so so backward.
You know what would be ironic justice?
If all those people that voted for it, at some point became the victims of it.
Well, I do think it's bad that the people can take away my right to bear arms...
but, i do have a problem with the idea that gay marriage is protected in the Constitution. under what exactly? Marriage is a government institution where opposite sex couples are regulated and encouraged to raise a successful family. in modern times we've concluded that a gay couple can also raise a successful family, so all that means is that we should change certain things so that gays stop bitching about made up rights.
if we keep on arguing about dumb shit like "our constitutional rights" all we're doing is making the argument seem more retarded than it really is.
it's not about civil rights, it's about lesbians on their periods and gays with something stuck up their ass. legalize gay marriage and they'll stop their dumb shit. please, i'm so tired of these morons out on the street saying shit that ISN'T TRUE. i hate it when false things are stated. and the media... god damn the media.
What i'm wondering is why Obama, the guy who promised change, is also so against gay marriage. Fuckin' liar.
You really need to develop your reading comprehension ability.
"i do have a problem with the idea that gay marriage is protected in the Constitution. under what exactly? Marriage is a government institution where opposite sex couples are regulated and encouraged to raise a successful family. in modern times we've concluded that a gay couple can also raise a successful family, so all that means is that we should change certain things so that gays stop bitching about made up rights."
As I said if you read the majority opinion in Strauss v. Horton you will see that the court does affirm that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right under the privacy, due process of law, and equal protection under the law provisions of the constitution. The court then ruled that it was unconstitutional for Proposition 8 to take away those rights.
Oh no major typo.
"The court then ruled that it was unconstitutional for Proposition 8 to take away those rights."
This should be:
"The court then ruled that it was constitutional for Proposition 8 to take away those rights."
This is why you proofread before submitting.
Equal protection. Lets break this down to actually something really simple:
A gay person can still get married. A straight person can still get married. They are both ONLY allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex. So, they both have equal protection.
I am for gay marriage, but all it is is a new extension of marriage... that's all. It's not upholding the Constitutional rights. The court can rule w/e they want... they're just people.
Prop 8 does not take away any of the legal rights associated with marriage away from same sex couples. The court said gay couples were losing only the nomenclature of marriage.
"Last year, California's Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages and afforded married gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples. While this week's decision may seem like a reversal to many, according to the court, Prop. 8 only applies to the term "marriage" and does not take away any of the legal rights associated with marriage."
Regardless of right and wrong, the two sides are at odds because same sex couples see this issue as an equality issue and the religious right sees this as a religious issue.
The religious right is saying, "Take and keep your rights but leave the word behind." The argument that there are certain rights that are inseparable from the word "marriage" is bunk. Any and all rights afforded to the word "marriage" can be afforded to another word.
But for same sex couples, the word holds a special meaning. Kendell and other gay rights activists say the term "marriage" has a symbolic meaning that goes beyond words. "I'd like to walk down the street and ask 10 heterosexual couples if they would cease referring to themselves as married, or cease referring to themselves as spouse, or husband, or wife to their families, their friends, and the world," she says."Marriage is the common vernacular to understanding what two people mean to each other."
I don't care what the Christian Science Monitor says about what the court thinks I care about what the court says it thinks. According to the California Supreme Court if you read their ruling, same-sex couples had a constitutional right to get married before proposition 8. Read the quote.
And now they don't have the right to call their benefits and their rights a "marriage." So what? They get their benefits and their rights. Which is what really matters.
Bottom line: same sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples. They just don't get to call it a "marriage." Big deal!
I think the ruling set a good precedent in one way: citizen-powered law-making is a good thing and that power should be protected.
As far as upholding prop 8 goes, I have a feeling that it will eventually go the way of the dodo.
Even though this setback seems agonizing, the victory will be even more thrilling because it will come at the ballot from the power of the people.
First off ledhead, there was never anything in the Constitution about same sex marriages until some states put it there. The same with Roe vs, Wade. Abortion was never a part of the original Constitution. These rulings can be overturned at any time by the state high courts or the Supreme Court. It's really nothing new but it is disturbing in these cases since a marriage can go south just because of a ruling, which can also be overturned in kind, and leave a couple reeling from its impact.
I never said same-sex marriages were explicitly mentioned in the constitution. But according to the California Supreme Court it was an implicit right. There are many rights that are implicit. The point is that it is scary that the Supreme Court will say that something they believe currently is a constitutional right can be taken away by an amendment.
I don't see that way at all. I see it as, "Civil unions between same sex couples carries with it the same benefits as married heterosexual couples." In other words, heterosexuals can define the word marriage any way they want, but they can't take away the rights of same sex couples who can call it something else.
Are you saying that Proposition 8 takes away the benefits offered by Civil Unions between same sex couples? That doesn't make sense.
Look, I know that people love to vilify the religious right but it doesn't make sense for the religious right to take away the benefits offered by civil unions to same sex couples. What the hell does the religious right care if a gay couple gets a tax break or any other benefit offered by marriage? All the religious right cares about is preserving the meaning of the word "marriage."
But lets just say you're right, just for arguments sake, then I would argue that we should never give up our rights to bear arms. Because it is by preserving that right that we will be able to keep tyrants at bay.