CA Supreme Court upholds Prop 8

Yesterday the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, the controversial referendum which amends the state constitution to declare marriage as only between a man and a woman.  On the plus side, the Court ruled that same-sex marriages created during the time period when it was legal remain valid.  Naturally, the whole idea of Prop 8 is repugnant; freethinkers and civil libertarians are greatly distressed at how such a thing could have happened in Califonia, of all places.  What kind of weird, upside-down country is this where states like Iowa and Maine (no offense to those fine places) can get ahead of the Left Coast?

I won’t win many friends by saying that the Court made the right decision–“right” as in, the Court did its job in the face of intense pressure.  Prop 8, as unethical, immoral and stupid as it is, is a valid amendment to the state constitution implemented according to the proper procedures.  There have been cries of “Unconstitutional!” and “Do the right thing!” but in the end, we should want our Courts to do their job.  The justices are not supposed to be on anybody’s side.  They’re on the side of the law.  They’re referees, while the voters of California are the combatants.

Unfortunately, Prop 8 doesn’t contradict any obvious clause in the federal constitution, and even if it contradicted another part of the California constitution, all things being equal, how could the justices choose between equally valid clauses?  It’s a kind of Sophie’s Choice that, to my knowledge, no state supreme court has ever had to address, and probably never will.

So, rather than fuss and fret and insist that the court should have done something outside their authority, we need to hitch up our pants, admit the fundies beat us fair and square, and figure out how to reverse this injustice.  (Actually, the way forward is pretty clear, since Prop 8 need only be invalidated by a future ballot initiative, which I’m sure will pass the next time around.)

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