Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Courts Can Change Lives, Will Judge Sonia Sotomayor Affect California "Reform?"

Voters in California banned same sex marriage. Advocates of same sex marriages filed a legal challenge. California's highest court has now upheld Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages. Despite upholding the ban, the court allowed the approximaltely 18,000 unions performed before the ban to remain valid. The California Supreme Court ruling sparked protests in San Francisco. The ruling was a 6 to 1 decision.

Protests resulted in 159 adults and three juveniles being arrested according to the San Francisco Police Department as reported by CNN. In Los Angeles, approximately 3,500 protesters voiced their discontent without any arrests.

Ignoring the emotional moral issues, does the ban improperly alter California's constitution to restrict a fundamental right guaranteed in the state charter? Some say Californians long have had the right to change their state constitution through ballot initiatives. According to the court, the ban restricts the designation of marriage "while not otherwise affecting the fundamental constitutional rights of same-sex couples," per Chief Justice Ronald George.
Justice Carlos Moreno dissented.

This is not just a California issue. Voters in 28 other states have approved constitutional bans on same sex marriages. Will other states favor same-sex marriage? Popular opinion on constitutional bans varies according to age. CNN poll: Generations disagree.

Undoubtedly there will be an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, Dennis Herrera, San Francisco's city attorney, opined that the fight for same-sex marriage rights would most likely go on "in the electoral arena." A new proposition "Yes on Equality" will be on the 2010 ballot. If passed, it will repeal Proposition 8. The recent California decison did not address whether same-sex marriages performed in other states before the ban would be recognized in California. It may violate rights under the U.S. Constitution for California to disregard such foreign unions.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposed the initiative banning same sex marriages. He praised the court for leaving the previous marriages intact. "While I believe that one day either the people or courts will recognize gay marriage, as governor of California, I will uphold the decision of the California Supreme Court," Schwarzenegger published in a written statement.
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Iowa currently allow same-sex marriages. Vermont will be added to the list in September. The District of Columbia has also voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. (It does not issue its own marriage licenses.)

Now as President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, one has to ask, just where does she stand on this issue.


Anonymous said...

Personally, my views are pretty close to Ms. California's on this one.

Ms Calabaza said...

From the little I have read up on Sotomayor, I would guess she would dissent on Prop 8.

Anonymous said...

Sotomayor is liberal but has some catholic influence in her so who knows.

Ms Calabaza said...


Watchman said...

Ted Olson, President George W. Bush's first Solicitor General, filed a lawsuit in US district court on May 22 to protest Prop 8 and it's ban on same sex marriage.

Joining with his former opponent in Bush v Gore, David Boies, Olson is representing two same-sex couples in California. (Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier of Berkeley) The plaintiffs have been together for nine years and are the parents of four children. The second couple, Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo of Burbank, have been together for eight years.

And the plot thickens...


Anonymous said...

Good old Teddy bear!