Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Calilesbigays Can Now Marry

(May 15, 2008) In a surprise ruling, the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriages in California today. In a nutshell, the gist of the 172-page decision is found on page 120:

"Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court. Further, as the prevailing parties, plaintiffs are entitled to their costs."The majority decision was written by Chief Justice Ronald George with Justices Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar, and Carlos Moreno concurring.

"Although I agree with the majority's conclusion, I have to disagree with its path," Santa Ana civil rights attorney Ron Talmo told Crusader's Corner.

"I believe that a prohibition on same sex marriages is best analyzed as gender discrimination. The Court's distinction of the race cases made no sense. Equally burdening two groups on the basis of their gender is still gender discrimination. I fear the ramifications of that analysis in other civil rights areas. On the plus side, the Court's error on that point required them to address the sexual orientation classification issue. Here the majority concluded that sexual orientation discrimination is subject to strict scrutiny review. This is probably the more important conclusion than the broad view of marriage as a fundamental right conclusion."

Talmo is the attorney who successfully argued before the California Supremes that ladies' day discounts violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Koire v. Metro Car Wash, 1985). He also was victorious in convincing a conservative Orange County jury that Disneyland violated the rights of two young gay men who were ejected from The Gayest Place on Earth after disco dancing together at the Tomorrowland Terrace in 1980.

Gay Marriage Ban May Return in November

According to their website, a group calling itself Protect Marriage is waiting for the California Secretary of State to qualify Proposition 22 for the November 2008 Primary Election. That constitutional amendment seeks to legally define marriage in California as between a man and a woman.

"The Constitutional Amendment cannot pass," West Hollywood city council member
John Duran told Crusader's Corner. "It is worth each of us giving everything we have to hold the court decision."
Duran, a longtime civil rights lawyer said that if the amendment passes, the only recourse is in federal court, which will be disastrous. "The US Supremes will not give us a favorable decision, so the federal courts will not protect us," he said.

Crusader's Corner recommends that people supportive of marital equality for everyone donate money to Human Rights Campaign California
Marriage PAC.
Personally, I feel that marriage is highly overrated, but if lesbigays want to have the same rights, responsibilities, and heartache that their straight counterparts currently enjoy, so be it.

Today's gay marriage ruling was surprising to me because the California Supremes (with Chief Ronald George at the helm) ruled in favour of Boy Scouts of America's oppressive policies in two 1998 court rulings: one involving gay Eagle Scout Timothy Curran; the other dealing with two twin Boy Scout brothers (Michael and William Randall) who happen to be atheists.