Friday, January 16, 2009

Strike Down Proposition 8

Excellent news that hopefully will bear fruit this coming spring:
Today, hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights groups, and labor unions, along with numerous California municipal governments, bar associations, and leading legal scholars collectively urged the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8. Dozens of amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs argue that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution, and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote.
In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians. Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare 52 percent on November 4.

On November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, and established an expedited briefing schedule, under which briefing will be completed in January 2009, with amicus curiae or “friend-of-the-court” briefs due on January 15. Oral argument potentially could be held as early as March 2009.
Let's hope the Court rules in our favor once again.

What I wonder is, last year the decision was 4-3 in our favor. How are the 3 that voted against going to look at the law and the Constitution now? Last year's ruling, establishing marriage as a fundamental right and homosexuals as a suspect category requiring special scrutiny, is now considered the law, even if 3 judges dissented, isn't it?

In that light, will those 3 judges now look at Proposition 8 from the standpoint of a Constitution that recognizes marriage as a fundamental right for gays and lesbians as well, or will they look at it the same way they did before that historic ruling took place?

In the former case, and if the Court considers striking Proposition 8 down, could we hope for a unanimous ruling?

I can still dream, right?

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