UnNews:California violates civil rights
27 May 2009
California's Supreme Court upheld the state's gay-marriage ban Tuesday while still allowing gay couples to get the same benifits, just calling it a domestic partnership - a ruling decried by gay activists as a national tragedy that shall live on in infamy, or maybe even a defeat.
In a 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George, the court rejected arguments that the ban approved by the voters last fall was such a fundamental change in the California Constitution that it first needed the Legislature's approval and this has caused the sky to fall. "We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has acknowledged the right of voters to define marriage in the California Constitution," said Andrew P. Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com, the leading group behind the initiative. "The voters have decided this issue and their views should be respected."
As for the thousands of couples who tied the knot last year in the five months that gay marriage was legal in California, the court said it is well-established principle that an amendment is not retroactive unless it is clear that the voters intended it to be, and that was not the case with Proposition 8.
Moreover, the court said it would be too disruptive to apply Proposition 8 retroactively and dissolve all gay marriages. Doing that would have the effect of "throwing property rights into disarray, destroying the legal interests and expectations of thousands of couples and their families, and potentially undermining the ability of citizens to plan their lives according to the law as it has been determined by this state's highest court," the ruling said.
While gay rights advocates accused the court of failing to protect a minority group’s wish to change the definition of marriage from the will of the majority, while still allowing all the benifits, just without the name, the justices said that the state's governing framework gives voters almost unfettered ability to change the California Constitution.
The decision set off an outcry among a sea of demonstrators who had gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse, holding signs and waving rainbow flags. Many people also held hands in a chain around an intersection in an act of protest. More than 150 protesters who blocked a street were arrested, with citations for failure to obey a police officer,and “gaywalking”, jaywalking in a gay manner”.
We're relieved our marriage was not invalidated, but this is a hollow victory because even though you can still get all the benefits through parnership, now we can’t call it marriage," said Mr. Winkler, a local school teacher Jeanne Rizzo, 62, who was one of the plaintiffs along with her wife, Pali Cooper, said: "It's not about whether we get to stay married. Our fight is far from over. Getting the same benefits without the same word is not equality. It’s bad enough that I can’t say I’m native American on my driver’s license just because I’m white, now this!
The court said that while the ban denies gay couples use of the term "marriage," it does not fundamentally disturb their basic right to "establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship with the person of one's choice and to raise children within the family." California still allows gay couples to form domestic partnerships, though all justices said they are “totally gay”.
In their 136-page majority ruling, the justices said it not their job to address whether the ban is wise public policy, but to decide whether it is constitutionally valid, while "setting aside our own personal beliefs and values, and then drew some smiley faces. Our sources were too bored to read the rest"
- Mr. Wnkler "[ ]." ', 2 seconds ago in a galaxy far, far away
- Emporer Winkler "[ ]." ', may 26, 2009