Reaction to CA Court's Overturning Gay Marriage Ban
As Big Tent wrote earlier ,the California Supreme Court Thursday overturned a law banning gay marriage (opinion here, pdf). Glenn Greenwald has some terrific analysis on what the decision means and doesn't mean. In a nutshell, from the Washington Post,
Marriage is a "basic civil right" guaranteed to all Californians, "whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote in a 121-page ruling. He repeatedly said the ruling was based on the California court's first-in-the-nation decision in 1948 to end the state's prohibition on interracial marriage, nearly 20 years before the U.S. Supreme Court took the same action.
The ruling becomes effective in 30 days unless a stay is granted.
Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama issued similar bland statements on today's decision: [More...]
"Hillary Clinton believes that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans and believes that civil unions are the best way to achieve this goal. As President, Hillary Clinton will work to ensure that same sex couples have access to these rights and responsibilities at the federal level. She has said and continues to believe that the issue of marriage should be left to the states."
"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."
The radical right in California is geared for a fight, having already gathered 1 million signatures for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that could be on the ballot in November. You can read it here (pdf.)
The court's decision could be overturned in November, when Californians are likely to vote on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Conservative religious organizations have submitted more than 1.1 million signatures on initiative petitions, and officials are working to determine if at least 694,354 of them are valid.
If the measure qualifies for the ballot and voters approve it, it will supersede today's ruling. The initiative does not say whether it would apply retroactively to annul marriages performed before November, an omission that would wind up before the courts.
The politician with the better response, go figure, was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The governor issued a statement today saying, "I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling." He also reiterated his opposition to the constitutional amendment that is likely to be on the November ballot.
As for the predictable response from John McCain:
Sen. John McCain's campaign said the Arizona Republican "supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman." McCain, who last week decried judicial activism, "doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions," a spokesman added.
Update: Here's Libertarian candidate Bob Barr:
Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions or not ought to be a power each state exercises on its own, rather than imposition of a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government (as would be required by a Federal Marriage Amendment which has been previously proposed and considered by the Congress).
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