Prop 8 in the CA Supreme Court: A Round Up

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CalBoy, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #1
    Well we should all be very familiar with Prop 8 and its background by now, and since this Thursday is the date of oral arguments for the challenges to Prop 8, I think a bit of legal summary is in order:

    There are 3 cases that are being heard simultaneously on March 5th in San Francisco:

    Strauss v. Horton
    Tyler v. California
    San Francisco v. Horton

    There are several issues being considered:

    1. Is Prop 8 a revision or a simple amendment? The California Constitution requires revisions to be ratified by 2/3rds of the Legislature, so if the Court agrees with this argument, it would effectively send Prop 8 to the California Legislature, where it would undoubtedly meet its end.
    2. Does Prop 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine? The argument here is that protecting minorities is a responsibility of the judiciary, and that the legislative process can't intervene to prevent equal protection under the law. If the Court agrees with this argument, Prop 8 is essentially nullified on the spot.
    3. Can the initiative process override 'inalienable rights?' This argument is being made by Jerry Brown, the Attorney General. Brown is basically saying that the initiative process can't be used to challenge fundamental rights, because the very notion of a majority defining a fundamental right defeats the purpose of having a fundamental right.
    4. Finally, if the Court does not accept any of the above arguments and Prop 8 is retained as valid law, are the 18,000 same-sex marriages now annulled? What is their legal status?

    There have also been over 60 amicus curiae briefs filed in the case, with over 2/3rds of them being in opposition to Prop 8.

    To read the legal stuff for yourself, I suggest this Court press release and the Court's webpage.
     
  2. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

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    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #2
    Thanks, CalBoy, for the legal summary. I have had quite a few interesting conversations about the idea that the courts are supposed to protect the rights of minorities. One person, interestingly, told me (and I paraphrase) that the rule was created to protect the wealthy few from the parasitic poor.
    I really look forward to what happens this week! I have hope. :)
     
  3. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #3
    My pleasure to sum up the cases. :)

    I am a bit apprehensive to be honest. A year ago (in a thread quite similar and yet so different), I was certain how the Court was going to rule (I even had the vote count correct!), but now I'm not so certain. I have hope though, and I think many millions share in that hope, which is a comforting thought.

    Your last line there reminds me: this case won't be decided until a considerable time after Thursday. The Court has 90 days to issue a ruling. Last time they took about 2 months, and I think we can expect a similar wait time for this one. In fact, I have a conspiracy theory that the Court is going to issue their decision rather late; in time for June weddings I think. ;):p
     
  4. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

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    #4
    Oh, true. I have difficulty with delayed gratification. Ha ha. I want my rulings now! Are you going to the candlelight vigil?
     
  5. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    CA
    #5
    Thanks for the info. As a state case, I feel pretty optimistic. There really is no logical legal reasoning to deny gays the right to marry. But logic sometimes have little to do with rulings.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #6
    Calboy- I think we're going to win this. I don't see any way for us not to. The whole idea of voting on people's rights is so anti-American to begin with, I don't see how it could go any other way.
     
  7. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    On tenterhooks
    #7
    <aside>

    I love the term "amicus curiae". I learned that one via Perry Mason. :p

    </aside>
     
  8. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #8
    Are California's Supreme Court Justices elected or appointed? If they're elected I can pretty much guarantee you that they will decide in favor of Prop 8 just to stay in office. Otherwise they will decide the fate of the proposition based on the state constitution.

    I am hoping they declare the proposition unconstitutional. Removing civil rights from minorities is a bad thing.
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #9
    AFAIK, they are not elected.
     
  10. No1451 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #10
    This blows my mind. Why is there even legislation against same-sex marriage? I've never understood it honestly, I couldn't care less if both parties have the same junk, so long as I don't need to see it flopping around I'm down with it.

    I can't see how it won't get tossed out though, as you said, removing rights from a minority is just ridiculous.
     
  11. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #11
    but they can be impeached which I hope happens if they overturn Prop 8.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #12
    Why do you think it's the right of the masses to vote people's rights away? You do realize how anti-American that is, don't you? Do you have any idea what could happen to your rights if this doesn't get struck down?

    EDIT- ah, the classic post-and-run. :rolleyes:
     
  13. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #13
    It's never been gay people's right to marry, marriage always has been in any society between a man and a woman. Nothing will happen to my rights if it doesn't get struck down, but if it is struck down, then it would open churches to lawsuits that would force them to compromise their beliefs or be shut down. personally I would prefer the government completely out of religious ceremonies like marriage and them to give civil unions for everyone, but that's not likely to happen.
     
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Colly-fornia
    #14
    Umm... how do you explain the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place before Prop. 8 took that right away?
     
  15. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Oregon
    #15
    Or between a man and many women. Marriage has changed many times over the history of mankind. Get over it.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #16
    Guess what- it IS a right: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/15/same.sex.marriage/

    No, it does NOT! No church would have to marry anyone it doesn't want to. Do churches have to marry straight people? Or can they turn them down? No church has to marry anybody they don't want to.

    This law ONLY pertaims to the civil aspects of marriage, not the religious ones.

    Again, this has nothing to do with religion, this has to do with civil law- nothing more.

    Furthermore- this is how this could affect you: If the rights of gay people can be voted away, then so can anyone else's. The whole idea of the USA is that no one's rights can be taken away from them, by vote or otherwise.
     
  17. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #17
    Probably not. :eek: Classes (and a midterm) are sort of making it extremely difficult for me to go.

    After the decision is announced, I might try to go to whatever comes next (either a victory rally or a protest), since I should be done with finals by then.
    There's one person you need to watch during Thursday's oral arguments: Justice Kennard. She's our swing vote in this case. If her questions are not looking friendly towards the anti-Prop 8 lawyers, or Jerry Brown, then we have cause for concern.
    They are appointed by the governor and "retained" (or not) by the voters. A retention election occurs every 12 years, but justices can be impeached in a process that is essentially the same as the initiative amendment process.
    Impeachment presents an interesting obstacle for the justices here. The last time California removed Supreme Court justices was in the 1980s, and it was over the death penalty. However, the death penalty was supported by much larger numbers, the governor was against the justices, and the justices were repeatedly overturning capital convictions. Thus the voters were more upset by the pattern and practice of the justices, not necessarily any one ruling.

    In the case of Prop 8, a majority may now be against Prop 8 based on recent polling. What's more, the public tends to not like removing public officials unless they are seen as doing great harm to the state. To put icing on the cake, our esteemed governor has finally taken a side on the issue and announced that he wants to see Prop 8 overturned. In this sense, the justices have the wind at their backs if it comes down to an impeachment fight.

    Until the 1920s, women were also seen as a property exchange in marriage, not equal partners. Should we default to that view following your traditionalist argument?

    What's more, your statement is factually incorrect as gay marriages have been documented to have occurred in Ancient Egypt, China, Rome, and Greece.
    Again, from a factual perspective this isn't the case. The law does not require any church to perform any ceremony; that is exclusively the domain of the church and its leaders. If that wasn't the case, we would have seen lawsuits from June to November 2008 in California, lawsuits in Connecticut from December onwards, and lawsuits in Massachusetts from 2003 onwards.

    So, please leave your red herrings at the door.
     
  18. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Hartford, CT
    #18
    A perfect example of FUD if I've ever seen it. 90% of the post is a lie, even the first sentence is a lie!:eek:
     
  19. FreeState macrumors 68000

    FreeState

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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #19
    My partner and I are flying up to San Francisco on Wednesday to be their for Thursdays case. If anyone is in the area there are a lot of planned activities - theres a march Wed night in every major CA city as well.

    Here's to hope and common decency :)
     
  20. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #20
    We'll be thinking about you here in Chicago! Good luck and don't give up!
     
  21. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    May 21, 2007
    #21
    Darn it, now I'm tempted to go.

    The Day of Protest in November really was a lot of fun, but the timing is just horrible for this one. :eek:
    I'm sure we'll be wishing you the same in a few years when Illinois has this case come before it. :)
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #22
    I don't think it'll take that long. There's already civil union rumblings around the state houses.
     
  23. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    May 21, 2007
    #23
    Here's hoping. The more states that join in equality, the sooner we get full rights at the Federal level.
     
  24. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #24
    i'm actually surprised that it hasn't happened already.

    and i'll be hoping for a good outcome to this case.
     
  25. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #25
    That's absolutely false; in fact, the exact opposite is true. No church will ever be required by law to recognize same-sex marriages; however, Proposition 8 eliminated the church's right to make that decision. Churches wishing to perform (recognized) same-sex weddings are prevented from doing so under Prop 8, violating religious freedoms.

    If you don't believe this to be the case, then the contrasting argument must be true: religious ceremony and legal marriage are entirely separate and must not overlap, essentially voiding all arguments in favor of Prop 8.

    Fair enough, so long as all marital contracts are legally recognized equally, even in name. It should be noted, however, that modern marriage precedes modern religion, and for that reason there is no valid argument which places the term "marriage" under the realm of religion. Marriage was a secular legal term long before it carried any religious connotations.
     

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