Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ban on marriage upheld in CA

Earlier this week, the California state Supreme Court voted to uphold Proposition 8, a voter-based constitutional amendment that passed by a majority vote during the 2008 general election. Despite my opposition to the ban (and I'm sure I'll get some flak for writing this), I do feel the court made the right decision: there wasn't a legal basis available to overturn the ban, and doing so would have set terrible precedent.

Having said that, I remain committed to writing on and continuing the push for alternative avenues for restoring marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in California as well as nation-wide. Overturning the ban through another voter-based referendum, for example, should be first priority for the gay marriage movement in California. Following such a vote, California voters should also fix their flawed constitutional amending process, of which only a simple majority is allowed to destroy the rights and protections afforded to the minority within the state.

Wisconsin has a similar problem: never during the entire amendment process is a super-majority requirement established, allowing, once again, for the majority to trample upon the rights and privileges afforded to the minority. Unlike California, however, a legal argument can be made for overturning Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage since the constitutional amendment asked Wisconsin voters to approve more than one question. Wisconsin requires that each question posed to the voters be listed separately, but were never given that opportunity in 2006 when the amendment asked voters to ban both gay marriages and other legal protections similar to marriage for gay couples. Since it's very conceivable that a person could support civil unions in Wisconsin but not outright marriage, the ban forced such persons to make an "all-or-nothing" pick when it came to the amendment.

As I always have, I still maintain that there is no reasonable justification for denying gay and lesbian couples marriage rights. This includes California; even though I previously stated there wasn't a legal justification for overturning the ban, I still believe the ban there to be unreasonable. Were there a legal reason for overturning the ban, you'd see me arguing all for a court to reverse it; however, that isn't the case, and I'm not prepared to support overturning a law simply because I disagree with it. A more reasonable approach is to do so through legal means. This can be done in Wisconsin, through referendum or the courts; both options should be looked at.

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