Monday, May 19, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Lies, Damn Lies, and Wingnut Talking Points

Last week's ruling by the California Supreme Court was notable for several reasons:

  • The scope of the ruling -- affirming full equality for gays and lesbians
  • The size of the state -- the most populous in the country
  • The reasoning -- affirming that civic marriage is a basic right for everyone; that the arguments against same-sex marriages cannot stand strict scrutiny
  • The effects beyond California -- unlike MA, there is no residency requirement

Of course, the GOP and the right-wingers are now somewhat buzzing -- but their most potent arguments have been blunted to near nothingness: with civil unions in place in Connecticut and Vermont, full marriage in Massachusetts, and several years of registered domestic partnerships in California, the "any recognition of gay relationships will destroy civilization" just won't fly.

So, they're trotting out the "judicial activistism" canard is being tossed around indiscriminately: "activist judges" "overturning the will of the people"... nonsense.

Yes, there was an initiative that created a law (this is something of a singular process in California) that declared "marriage an institution between one man and one woman".

The California Supreme Court was required to rule as to whether or not that statute violated the California state constitution. And they found that it did -- and that if you grant heterosexual couples the right to marry, you cannot deny that right to homosexual couples.

As far as the judges being "activist" -- that's a loaded term. That they are not held accountable by the people? California judges are required to be confirmed by election -- as these judges have been.

"Overturning the will of the people" -- overturning an initiative, yes... the will of the people, not so fast. The CA legislature has passed full marriage equality twice. The governor vetoed the legislation, saying that the CA Supreme Court had the final say. Well they've spoken.

Now we must see whether or not the potency of this issue will be a factor this fall -- or whether the narrow-minded will win one last battle in the culture wars.


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