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Gender-Neutral Marriage Decision Announced

by: Be_Devine

Thu May 15, 2008 at 09:58:28 AM PDT


(dKos link. Here's an ActBlue Page to fight against the marriage initiative. - promoted by Brian Leubitz)

4-3 DECISION!!   THE GOOD GUYS AND GALS WON!!!!!

The decision can be read here.

The conclusion of the majority is:

in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.  In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.

The Court goes on to say: "

Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court. 

 Hmmm, "appropriate state official"?  Who might that be?  Oh yeah, Mark Leno!

And a nice little touch concludes the directive: "Further, as the prevailing parties, plaintiffs are entitled to their costs."  Ha!! Take that bigots!

Justices Baxtar, Corrigan, and Chin dissented.  All of them, however, wrote that they believe that same sex marriages should be recognized.  However, they do not believe that the Constitution mandates such recognition.

Be_Devine :: Gender-Neutral Marriage Decision Announced

The Court holds that "Seperate but  Equal" is not permissive in this context for three reasons:

First:

because of the long and celebrated history of the term “marriage” and the widespread understanding that this term describes a union unreservedly approved and favored by the community, there clearly is a considerable and undeniable symbolic importance to this designation. 

Second:

particularly in light of the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay persons, there is a very significant risk that retaining a distinction in nomenclature with regard to this most fundamental of relationships whereby the term “marriage” is denied only to same-sex couples inevitably will cause the new parallel institution that has been made available to those couples to be viewed as of a lesser stature than marriage and, in effect, as a mark of second-class citizenship.

Third:

it also is significant that although the meaning of the term “marriage” is well understood by the public generally, the status of domestic partnership is not.  While it is true that this circumstance may change over time, it is difficult to deny that the unfamiliarity of the term “domestic partnership” is likely, for a considerable period of time, to pose significant difficulties and complications for same-sex couples, and perhaps most poignantly for their children, that would not be presented if, like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples were permitted access to the established and well-understood family relationship of marriage. 

 

 

 

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Such Tasty, tasty Crow! n/t (8.00 / 5)


I think?

I bet you've never been (8.00 / 2)
happier to be proven wrong. ;-)

[ Parent ]
What does it say? (8.00 / 2)
I can't get the page to load!

At page 120 (8.00 / 3)
Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union "between a man and a woman" is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.

Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court.


[ Parent ]
Right on! (8.00 / 3)
Thanks.
It's finally come up for me.

[ Parent ]
O glorious day (8.00 / 3)


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

Wow. (8.00 / 3)
This is going to reverberate around the country - in a VERY positive way. Folks in other states have been closely watching this case, in the belief that California still is a national trendsetter.

Wow. Awesome.

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


Wow (8.00 / 3)
It's amazing to think that sanity lives in the court system.  What a great victory for GLBT community and for ALL of us.  Every time there is a victory for giving equality for any group it means that our society is growing up a little bit.  Thanks for the good news!

OC Progressive
Progress, not perfection!


Yeehaw! (8.00 / 3)
On to the other 48 states (after we beat the initiative)!  

I'm stunned (8.00 / 3)
In such a FANTASTIC way...   I'm just sitting here at home, sending out IM's to everyone on my list...   my eyes are seriously so filled up with tears right now

Brian - I have to say - you scared the SHIT out of me with the tasty crow comment...  It took forever to get the decision up on my screen (ok, 45 seconds - same thing)...

And - as much as I know about CA politics and as many court decisions as I've read - I quickly scrolled down and found the "we concur" section and couldn't figure out how we won with only 4 votes - ok - ya, brain fart - STATE supreme needs just 4 out of 7, not 5 out of 9...  

Then my honey yells out "We got it 4 to 3" and I go - DOH....  and can actually relax enough to read it.

The language is beautiful.  And ironically, the dissent's show themselves as biased based.  Just take a look at Baxter's dissent - on page 145 he states:

I would avoid these difficulties by confirming clearly that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.  That is because marriage is, as it always has been, the right of a woman and an unrelated man to marry each other.

He then proceeds to use this biased opinion as the basis for a great deal of the remainder of his argument.

Contrast this with the majority's opinion of:

In light of all of these circumstances, we conclude that retention of the traditional definition of marriage does not constitute a state interest sufficiently compelling, under the strict scrutiny equal protection standard, to justify withholding that status from same-sex couples.

which they arrive at after a lengthy review of the actual FACTS presented to them in the case.

Two last items - one, it's worthy to note that in addition to just being 4 to 3, Chief Justice George was part of the majority and is the signator of the opinion.

And two - if anyone is free on July 2, 2008 (a Wed) - ummm...  there may be a wedding here in Sacramento   :-)  I'll post registry information at some point - though, knowing Dan, he'll expect a formal proposal before I actually can confirm any other details.  He's a stickler for protocol.


Opinion is a bit of a muddle (8.00 / 1)
I'm very happy about the ruling, but the opinion really leaves me shaking my head at points.  Maybe opinions like this need to be muddles to get 4 justices on board.  I don't see how any judge can take the Equal Application theory seriously.  But Chief Justice George buys it completely.


In drawing a distinction between opposite-sex couples and same-sex
couples, the challenged marriage statutes do not treat men and women differently.
Persons of either gender are treated equally and are permitted to marry only a
person of the opposite gender.



That's rather shocking (8.00 / 2)
Since similar arguments could be used to justify banning interracial marriage.

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

[ Parent ]
Yeah (8.00 / 3)
Chief Justice George claimed that interracial marriage statutes were struck down because they criminalized whites marrying blacks, but not the other way around.  So, White Power advocates should be on notice that if they want to institute marriage laws where people can only marry their own race, that Chief Justice George thinks the California Constitution is OK with that, as long as the laws apply equally to everyone.

It's amazing the contortions that judges will go through to not recognize marriage inequality laws for what they are, which is sex discrimination.  Sex discrimination with the intent of harming people of certain sexual orientations, but sex discrimination nonetheless.


[ Parent ]
Protocol is Satisfied (8.00 / 5)
There's a wedding on July 2nd in Sacramento that everyone's invited to attend, once we hammer out the details.  My sister's beside herself with happiness and wants to do the planning (I'm sure my partner will have a few things to say about that.)  I've already asked my best friend to be my best man, now we just have to work out the details.  :)

Why July 2nd?  It was on that date that I moved in with my partner back in 2005, so it is our anniversary date.  Now it really WILL be our anniversary date!


Aw! (8.00 / 1)
Congratulations!

[ Parent ]
Ya... (8.00 / 2)
asshole (um, I mean "honey) asked me JUST as I was about to ask him

[ Parent ]
Man (8.00 / 2)
I met you just a few weeks after that.

Yaaaaay!!  Gay real legal weddings.


[ Parent ]
Yup, it was just a few weeks after I moved up here... (8.00 / 1)
I started at the Alliance.  Wow, what a long time ago, and yet it seems like just yesterday!  Working today has been difficult, I've felt so scatterbrained with happiness.  

Funny thing is we've been watching Queer as Folk on our DVR and last night we watched the episodes from the end of Season 4 where marriage was a central theme of the episodes.  It was almost surreal this morning to realize that this really has happened.  


[ Parent ]
What do you say... (8.00 / 1)
to those opposed to this decision because it "overturned the will of the people"?

I would say (8.00 / 5)
mob rule is not law.  If the will of the majority is to oppress the minority, that is mob rule, not rule of law.  

[ Parent ]
That's not America (8.00 / 3)
The Bill of Rights trumps the rule of the mob.

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

[ Parent ]
Well (8.00 / 1)
The California Constitution, in this case, not the Bill of Rights.

[ Parent ]
It's easy... (8.00 / 4)
The Constitution was created with its checks and balances because the founders of this country wanted to prevent the tyranny of the majority over the rights of the minority.

[ Parent ]
How about this? (8.00 / 2)

        Although defendants maintain that this court has an obligation to defer to
the statutory definition of marriage contained in section 308.5 because that
statute - having been adopted through the initiative process - represents the
expression of the "people's will," this argument fails to take into account the very
basic point that the provisions of the California Constitution itself constitute the
ultimate expression of the people's will, and that the fundamental rights embodied
within that Constitution for the protection of all persons represent restraints that
the people themselves have imposed upon the statutory enactments that may be
adopted either by their elected representatives or by the voters through the
initiative process. As the United States Supreme Court explained in West Virginia
State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) 319 U.S. 624, 638: "The very purpose
of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of
political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials
and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to
life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and
assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend
on the outcome of no elections."
        Indeed, Chief Justice Burger made the same point for a majority of the
United States Supreme Court in Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley (1981) 454 U.S. 290, observing emphatically that "[i]t is irrelevant that the voters rather
than a legislative body enacted [the challenged law], because the voters may no
more violate the Constitution by enacting a ballot measure than a legislative body
may do so by enacting legislation." (Id. at p. 295, italics added.) Accordingly, the
circumstance that the electorate voted in favor of retaining the traditional
definition of marriage does not exempt the statutory limitation from constitutional
review, nor does it demonstrate that the voters' objective represents a
constitutionally compelling state interest for purposes of equal protection
principles.

In re MARRIAGE CASES, pp 113-114.


[ Parent ]
Sorry about the crap formatting (n/t) (8.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Uhhhh.... (8.00 / 2)
Live blog a group wedding ceremony?  Anyone up for it?

I'll bring my past and future husband....I'm sure we could get Gavin or whomever to officiate...

I am a healthcare activist for the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association.  We are the nation's largest RN union, the nation's fastest-growing union, and leading advocates for single-payer healthcare.


wonderful! (8.00 / 3)
for what it's worth, i think we'll hold the line against the haters this november. the tide has turned.

Oh man (8.00 / 4)
I was sitting in the Sacramento Courthouse doing my civic jury duty.  It was damn hard to hold back the tears.

What a wonderful wonderful day.

I can't believe I now have the right to get married.  And man will it be wonderful to witness Mark officially marry Brian and Brian :D

Wow.  I knew this day would come.  It was inevitable, but honestly this was earlier than I expected.  I simply refused to let myself get my hopes up.


DITTO! (8.00 / 2)
And we are going to win that initiative.

Okay, I'm going to say it...deep breath...congratulations Log Cabin Reps for getting Arnold to say he'll oppose the initiative.  (Wow, that was tough.)

I am a healthcare activist for the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association.  We are the nation's largest RN union, the nation's fastest-growing union, and leading advocates for single-payer healthcare.


[ Parent ]
Man (8.00 / 3)
Now that it's like for realz, I'm starting to get cold feet.  Kidding, of course.  I love me some Brian L.

Does this mean we have to register at Gump's like Spotswood has been pressuring me to do?


[ Parent ]
I'm registering at Crossroads, myself (8.00 / 2)
Can you register at Whole Foods, btw?  

I am a healthcare activist for the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association.  We are the nation's largest RN union, the nation's fastest-growing union, and leading advocates for single-payer healthcare.

[ Parent ]
ALL RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D (8.00 / 2)
I Love You, California!!! I love you so much I want to marry you right now!!!

J/K!

My blog

Twitter


i have to say I am shocked (8.00 / 1)
I have to say, I am surprised...I really was worried it was gonna be a 4-3 the other way with a lot of lofty lingo...I have never understood why people get so rabidly anti-marriage equality....I mean shit, if someone is willing to make the commitment that marriage implies, let 'em do it.

the bullshit pumped out about marrying cows or whatever is just chaff, the same kinds of bullshit made against (gasp!) white folk and non white folk gettin' hitched.

I love how Bob Barr, author of the Defense of Marriage Act Bill Clnton signed, tried to have it both ways today, reminding people he don't like the gays, but that of course as a New Libertarian, this is um, what he meant by the DOMA.

Whatevs.


--
www.gregdewar.com


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