Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March 5, 2009; A Big Day For California Gay Rights

Tomorrow, March 5, 2009, is a very big day for gay rights in California. Tomorrow, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments as to why Proposition 8, a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in California, is unconstitutional. If you recall, voters in California approved Prop 8 by a slim margin in November. The approved amendment stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, thus making same-sex marriage invalid. This after the California Supreme Court had previously ruled that the California Constitution did not prohibit same-sex marriage. With an amendment, the Constitution would now specifically declare same-sex marriage null and void.
The day after the November election, three lawsuits challenging Prop. 8 were filed directly in the California Supreme Court. On November 19, 2008, the Supreme Court agreed to hear those cases. The court directed the parties to brief and argue the following 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? The court will issue a written opinion within 90 days, or the beginning of June.
This amendment added to the California Constitution essentially legalizes discrimination. A specific group, the LGBT community, is singled out as that group. Let's say for example, that a state wanted to prohibit African-Americans from voting or owning property. Could a State simply vote on an amendment to do so? I don't think so! So we shall see what happens in California and what ramifications it has on other states in the Union.