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Marriage Case Rumors

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed May 14, 2008 at 16:29:57 PM PDT

(I want to make sure I re-emphasize the first sentence. I do not know the outcome. I can only look to the judgment and hope that what I have here is complete and utter balderdash. As shayera said at dKos today, this is one of those times that I hope I totally screwed up. So, I look to tomorrow optimistically, with complete awareness of the fact that either way we have a long, hard fight in front of us. - promoted by Brian Leubitz)

UPDATE: I've decided to re-title this to reinforce the flimsiness of this stuff.  I've gotten word that the clerk was planning on changing roles for some time.  So, I'm going wait and see. Only 3 hours left anyway.

I don't traditionally ply in loosely sourced rumors, but here I go. Some troubling news has emerged from the California Supreme Court regarding In re Marriage Cases due to be announced tomorrow. First, Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar's only openly gay law clerk abruptly resigned today. I'm still looking to get additional details on this, but I am told that there was no indication of the resignation prior to today. If you have any further details on this, shoot me an email.

Next, from another source intimately familiar with the case and the Court, I'm hearing that the Court is prepared to take a step that stands in stark contrast to their bold and courageous position in Perez v. Sharp. Specifically, it looks like we might get a decision that dramatically rules against granting individuals the freedom to marry whomever they choose. The total voting correctly could be limited to one justice (if even that) by dissenting from a decision that would be looked back upon as a cop-out at best.

Leadership takes courage. Some have it. Others do not.  

Brian Leubitz :: Marriage Case Rumors
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Equality is an easy concept (8.00 / 2)
It would be a shame if the court rules against equality.  

Twitter: @BobBrigham

Sadly (8.00 / 2)
This would not surprise me - the supposedly liberal Washington State Supreme Court also took a bigoted position, ruling in 2006 to uphold the state DOMA because the legislature supposedly had a right to promote procreation.

If they do dramatically limit the scope of marriage freedom this might be a boost - showing Californians that this isn't about "gay marriage" but really is about "equal marriage" for everyone.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

Was that seriously the justification? (8.00 / 1)
Oh man, what kind of incredibly stupid logic is that. Promoting procreation? Makes about as much sense as the justifications for abstinence only education.

Anyways, if the court rules against equality, will we still be able to pass marriage equality once we get a Democratic governor in 2010? Or would this ruling affect that somehow? What are the chances of the anti-equality prop passing?

[ Parent ]
I'm not hopeful about the constitutional amendment (8.00 / 1)
The scary part of the amendment that they've turned in signatures for is that it is a very simple statement:

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "California Marriage Protection Act."

SECTION 2. Ar ticle I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution. to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

They have attempted to qualify other initiatives but they kept muddling the waters by including things like getting rid of Domestic Partnership or other items.  This potential amendment - there is no way to campaign that it is vague, or has any hidden meanings.  The campaign will have to be 100% on the merits of how the November electorate feels about that one sentence.

I'm still hopeful - but will be working my ass off to make everyone possible turns out and votes it down.

[ Parent ]
I am hopeful (8.00 / 1)
I think we can win it. Californians have not been asked to weigh in on this in eight years. A lot has changed:

1. In 2000 there was hardly any organized opposition to Prop 22

2. In 2008 there will be a surge of new, young voters - the type most likely to support marriage equality.

It will be a tough fight to be sure but I feel there is a good chance of victory.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
In fact (8.00 / 1)
A 2007 Field Poll bears that out - a majority of voters under 35 support equal marriage rights. A massive turnout of those voters in November will give us a fighting chance of defeating the amendment.

Especially because one of the primary reasons young voters lean toward Democrats is their revulsion at Republican hatemongering, especially on gay marriage. It may have helped Republicans in 2004 but came at an enormous long-term cost for their fortunes.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
I've seen Barna Group Polling (0.00 / 0)
that says even self-identified churchgoing evangelical young people are getting tired of the parade of hate.

[ Parent ]
It was indeed (8.00 / 2)
Folks were stunned in 2006 when the decision came down. Absolutely stunned. Most had expected the WA supremes would have ruled in favor of equality.

If the court rules against equality, it just means that the status quo remains in place. The legislature will still be able to pass, and the governor could still sign, a repeal of Prop 22.

The real problem is the constitutional amendment that will be on the fall ballot. If that passes then both the legislature's the court's hands will be tied.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the clarification and history lesson (8.00 / 1)
I can believe the decision (the first time I paid attention to politics was during Bush v. Gore, after all), but I can't believe they choose such a totalitarian justification over taking a cue from our Governor and saying that it's the will of the people. The first thing that came to my mind was the Nazi program of getting young aryan girls to procreate for the fatherland.

Well, looks like we're in for a fight then. Hopefully, if a Democrat can win by 8 points in a district Bush carried by over 60, we will be able to defeat this in a progressive state like California. Totally different types of fights, I know, but the fortunes of progressive policies are directly linked with the fortunes of the Democratic party (and vice-versa). Hopefully there will be enough new progressives this year to turn this bigoted amendment around.

[ Parent ]
No, the Legislature Can't Repeal Prop 22 (0.00 / 0)
Only the voters can repeal Prop 22.

The argument made to justify passing the Marriage Equality Bills that the Legislature has passed twice - and vetoed by Schwarzenegger - was that Prop 22 only outlawed same-sex marriages performed in other states. Technically, Prop 22 only amended the sections of law dealing with out of state marriages but frankly, I always though that argument was a stretch. As much as I hate to admit it, Schwarzenegger was probably correct on that one, though I still think he should have signed the bill and let the courts sort it out.

I was hoping that at worst, the Supreme Court would rule Prop 22 unconstitutional but leave it up to the Legislature to pass a Marriage Equality Bill. But if they rule Prop 22 constitutional, then not only will we have to defeat the Constitutional Amendment in November but we then will have to get a repeal of Prop 22 on the ballot and get it passed. A very tall order. I hope the latest rumors are wrong and the first rumors were correct. But I'm not too optimistic now.  

[ Parent ]
Funny, I was just reading something that said the exact opposite. (0.00 / 0)
On Towleroad, there was a post that pointed to a Huffington Post article saying that the Court was going to rule in favor...


No Real Housewives - but plenty of action at OC Progressive.

Come for the politics - stay for dessert.

Unfortunately (0.00 / 0)
the HuffPost commentary is a month old now. This new rumor is much more up-to-date...and worrisome.

...with liberty and justice for al[most everybody].

[ Parent ]
This is a big household argument... (0.00 / 0)
Yesterday my partner called me from work to make sure we weren't going to have another argument about gay marriage. It's the one issue where we have repeatedly argued and gotten quite upset about since we've been together.  I can understand his concern, with a win or lose on this case.

My position has been that after the first few court cases like Massachusetts, the battle for gay marriage needs to be moved to the legislatures and to the ballot boxes of the most gay-friendly states.  Winning (or losing) court cases will only take us so far.  

Win or lose with this case, California has come closer than any other state in putting gay marriage into law through the legislative process.  With the anti-gay marriage proposition looming on the horizon we're going to have a hefty battle in November no matter what, and I believe that is where we need to focus our attion.  Eventually we will have gay marriage, and if we can win it in the legislature (as we've done), and we can win it in the ballot box (as we have yet to do), we will be able to establish it in such a way that our opponents will never be able to take it away.  

If this case is won, it will be a big victory.  A loss is not the end of the battle, though. The ultimate victory will be when a governor signs it into law, or when the voters approve it at the ballot box.

That isn't a pipe dream, either.  It took little more than a decade from over 90% of Americans to go from opposing interracial marriage to a super-majority supporting interracial marriage.  When we win the battle of public opinion, we will have won the war.  

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