Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Roe v. Wade for the 21st century

Prop 8 Update

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The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to consider complaints by opponents of Proposition 8 that it improperly revised the constitution to ban gay marriage. The court declined to stay its enforcement in the meantime.

Court spokeswoman Lynn Holton said the court asked the parties involved to write briefs arguing three issues:

(1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

(2) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

(3) If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

Holton said the court established an expedited briefing schedule. She said oral argument could be held as early as March 2009. (via MyDD)

Written by gerrycanavan

November 20, 2008 at 12:10 am

Understanding the Legal Challenge to Prop 8

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The legal challenge to Proposition 8 rests on the distinction between a “revision” and an “amendment.”

“In passing Prop 8, the people of California basically put an asterisk next to the equal protection clause in the constitution,” said William Araiza, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Now, he said, “it fundamentally comes down to whether the court considers this a major change or not a major change.”

Specifically, opponents of Proposition 8 argue that this kind of change is a “revision,” not an “amendment.” The distinction is important, legal experts say, because revisions require two-thirds approval in the legislature and then a popular vote. Amendments can be approved by popular vote only.

If, as opponents say, the court finds that Proposition 8 qualifies as a revision, then the proposition would be found unconstitutional because its proponents would have, in effect, skipped the required legislative step. If the court strikes down the initiative on these grounds, it is not certain the lawmakers would take up the issue again.

If the court sides with Proposition 8 proponents and allows the amendment, the recourse for gay rights activists would be to put the matter to voters again through their own initiative or take the matter to federal court — something most activists are not ready to do, given the current composition of the Supreme Court.

Forty state legislators have signed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of this argument that the proposition be voided. Via MyDD.

Meanwhile, slight credit where it is slightly due: the Governator speaks out against Prop 8 only one week too late.

“It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview on CNN this morning. “I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area.”…

Today, Schwarzenegger urged backers of gay marriage to follow the lesson he learned as a bodybuilder trying to lift weights that were too heavy for him at first. “I learned that you should never ever give up…. They should never give up. They should be on it and on it until they get it done.”

And in fairness to Michele’s earlier call of “bullshit” it must be admitted that I don’t think Obama’s said anything about Prop 8 at all.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 11, 2008 at 4:34 am


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Glenn Greenwald says Obama and the new Democratic Congress should repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I’m actually a little more optimistic on this front than other people I know, but that’s not to say I’m optimistic. I think Obama is a remarkable politician and certain to be a better president than any we’ve seen, but in the end he remains a politician and the cost/benefit analysis still cuts against us*. Those of us who believe in marriage equality—and more importantly those people whose basic happiness and quality of life depend on it—are likely to spend some time under the bus, “waiting for the second term,” especially after this week’s tragic spectacle of California of all places rejecting equality.

I have significantly more faith in the courts doing the right thing on marriage—sadly creating a Roe v. Wade for the 21st century in the process—than the national Democrats taking a stand for basic civil rights. Prove me wrong, guys.

* precisely because the national Democrats refuse to show leadership on GLBT issues

Written by gerrycanavan

November 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm