Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This is a great and instructive article concerning the likely future of same-sex marriage in California.

Read the whole article, part of which is quoted below, that shows favorable statistics, including the revenue to be gained, that show that even if the amendment to change the California Constitution comes to the voters in November (which, as seen below, is not a sure thing at this time), it is very likely to fail:

"The moment California became the second state to start marrying gay couples, America's wedding album gained wonderfully memorable snapshots.

"Who could not be touched by seeing wispy-haired Del Martin, 87, cutting a three-tiered wedding cake from her wheelchair, helped by her 83-year-old bride, Phyllis Lyon?

"But the picture I'll most treasure is of a toddler in a pressed shirt and oversized tie, his dark hair wetted down and parted perfectly, gleefully squirming in one dad's arms while his other dad took a break from their special day to tell CNN how their family will be stronger because of the legal protections of marriage."

There is a significant flaw in the attempt to get that amendment before the voters in California in November, and that flaw is being presented before the California State Supreme Court, and it has great merit, because it highlights and alleges the unconstitutionality of that amendment's being presented on any ballot for popular vote that bypasses the needed 2/3 approval of the California Legislature (that twice voted for same-sex marriage).

To put civil rights any civil rights issue on a ballot initiative, especially to make it part of any state's constitution, puts any minority group's civil rights at the mercy of the tyranny of the majority. To avoid such tyranny, we not only have a Republic, but a separation of powers, and a Legislature that has been democratically elected by the people.

The full article on this matter can be seen here and part of it reads as follows:

"Civil rights groups face an uphill struggle in the court of public opinion to defeat an amendment to the California state constitution banning marriage between same-sex couples, thus overruling the state's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The groups have asked the top court to prevent the amendment from being placed before voters this November.

"'We filed this lawsuit because the sponsors of the initiative haven't followed the very constitution they're trying to change,' said Stephen V. Bomse of Heller Ehrman LLP, a lawyer in the suit. 'For good reason, there's a strict process for making revisions to our constitution, and it's more involved than simply collecting petition signatures.'

"Equality California and other civil rights organizations filing the lawsuit contend the proposed marriage amendment would change the state's constitution so profoundly it would result in a revision of the constitution and, according to state law, a revision cannot be accomplished by voter initiative alone. Rather, the papers filed by the civil rights organizations argue an initiative is not enough to put the amendment on the ballot, as it must also be approved by two-thirds of the legislature.

"'That process is in place to safeguard our basic form of government, especially the most basic principle of equal protection of the laws,' Mr. Bomse said. 'Therefore we are filing this suit today to ask the California Supreme Court to enforce those rules and to require the proponents to follow the correct procedure if they wish to make this far reaching change to our state Constitution.'"

For the full article, see "Gay Marriage Advocates Seek To Block Calif. Amendment".
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Michael Ejercito said...

Yes, minority rights are protected, but only by the Constitution.

Constitutions can be amended, like it or not.

Jerry Maneker said...

You miss the whole point of this post. The Courts have been set up, in part, to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Of course, Constitutions can be amended! But not amended by the will of haters to restrict the freedoms of any non-predatory minority group!

Michael Ejercito said...

But not amended by the will of haters to restrict the freedoms of any non-predatory minority group!
Constitutions can be amended for any reason whatsoever, as long as the amendment process is followed.

Theoretically, slavery can be reinstated by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Whether or not this is a good idea is of course another matter.)

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Michael: There is no argument that the people in California can vote to amend the state Constitution. However, the California State Legislature twice approved same-sex marriage, and the California State Supreme Court affirmed that "separate was not equal" in regard to same-sex marriage in California. Before the State Supreme Court now is for it to decide whether or not this referendum is considered an "amendment" or a "revision" to the Constitution. In many states the majority of the people don't have the right to change the State Constitution by simple vote; the difference in California is that if the Supreme Court decides that this referendum is an "amendment" the voters do decide the fate of same-sex marriage in California. If, on the other hand, the California State Supreme Court finds that this referendum is a "revision" of the State Constitution, that referendum is not allowed to appear on the ballot, as far as I know. I hope this helps.