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Intrepidation

California high court upholds gay marriage ban

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SAN FRANCISCO – California's Supreme Court upheld the state's gay-marriage ban Tuesday but said the estimated 18,000 same-sex weddings that took place before the prohibition passed are still valid — a ruling decried by gay-rights activists as a hollow victory.

Demonstrators outside the court booed, wept and yelled, "Shame on you!" Activists said they would go back to the voters as early as next year in a bid to repeal the ban, and a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn it was filed late last week.

In a 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George, the court rejected arguments that the ban approved by the voters last fall was such a fundamental change in the California Constitution that it first needed the Legislature's approval.

"We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has acknowledged the right of voters to define marriage in the California Constitution," said Andrew P. Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com, the leading group behind the initiative. "The voters have decided this issue and their views should be respected."

As for the thousands of couples who tied the knot last year in the five months that gay marriage was legal in California, the court said it is well-established principle that an amendment is not retroactive unless it is clear that the voters intended it to be, and that was not the case with Proposition 8.

Moreover, the court said it would be too disruptive to apply Proposition 8 retroactively and dissolve all gay marriages.

Doing that would have the effect of "throwing property rights into disarray, destroying the legal interests and expectations of thousands of couples and their families, and potentially undermining the ability of citizens to plan their lives according to the law as it has been determined by this state's highest court," the ruling said.

While gay rights advocates accused the court of failing to protect a minority group from the will of the majority, the justices said that the state's governing framework gives voters almost unfettered ability to change the California Constitution.

The decision set off an outcry among a sea of demonstrators who had gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse, holding signs and waving rainbow flags. Many people also held hands in a chain around an intersection in an act of protest. More than 150 protesters were arrested, with citations for failure to obey a police officer and jaywalking.

Later in the day, about 300 people marched from City Hall to a downtown park, holding signs with slogans such as, "Still Married, Still Fighting" and "Ban the marriage of church and state."

More than 1,500 protesters are gathered at a nighttime rally in West Hollywood, expressing their opposition to the decision. Police said the rally has been peaceful, with no arrests reported.

In San Francisco's Castro district, where many gay men and lesbians live, the large rainbow gay pride flag that flies in Harvey Milk Plaza had been lowered to half-staff and a black stripe put on the top.

"We're relieved our marriage was not invalidated, but this is a hollow victory because there are so many that are not allowed to marry those they love," said Amber Weiss, 32, who was in the crowd at City Hall, near the courthouse, with her partner, Sharon Papo. They were married on the first day gay marriage was legal last year, June 17.

"I feel very uncomfortable being in a special class of citizens," Papo said.

Jeanne Rizzo, 62, who was one of the plaintiffs along with her wife, Pali Cooper, said: "It's not about whether we get to stay married. Our fight is far from over. I have about 20 years left on this earth, and I'm going to continue to fight for equality every day."

A San Francisco police officer said many of the officers staffing the protest were members of the department's group for gay, lesbian and transgender police.

"I go out every day fighting for people's lives but I can't get married to who I want to," said Officer Lenny Groberg, 52, the first openly gay officer assigned to the city's gang task force.

A small group of Proposition 8 supporters also gathered outside the court.

"A lot of people just assume we're religious nuts. We're not. But we are Christians and we believe in the Bible," said George Popko, 22, a student at American River College in Sacramento, where the student government officially endorsed Proposition 8.

In the state capital, Republican state Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo, the incoming minority leader, said the court's decision "reaffirmed the principle that the people's votes do matter."

The state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 last May that it was unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to wed. For a while, that put California — the nation's most populous state — back in its familiar position in the vanguard of social change; at the time, Massachusetts was the only other state to allow gay marriage.

In what gay activists called their "Summer of Love," same-sex couples from around the country rushed to get married in California for fear the voters would take away the right at the ballot box. In November, Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent approval.

As the fight went on in California, Iowa, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut legalized gay marriage, bringing to five the number of states that allow same-sex couples to wed.

In California, gay rights activists argued that the ban was improperly put to the voters and amounted to a revision — which required legislative approval — not an amendment. But the justices disagreed.

The court said that while the ban denies gay couples use of the term "marriage," it does not fundamentally disturb their basic right to "establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship with the person of one's choice and to raise children within the family." California still allows gay couples to form domestic partnerships.

In their 136-page majority ruling, the justices said it not their job to address whether the ban is wise public policy, but to decide whether it is constitutionally valid, while "setting aside our own personal beliefs and values."

Justice Carlos Moreno, who had been under consideration as President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, was the lone dissenter.

He said denying same-sex couples the right to wed "strikes at the core of the promise of equality that underlies our California Constitution." He said it represents a "drastic and far-reaching change."

"Promising equal treatment to some is fundamentally different from promising equal treatment for all," Moreno said. "Promising treatment that is almost equal is fundamentally different from ensuring truly equal treatment."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office fought the ban, said: "Today we are faced with a disappointing decision. But I think we also know it could have been worse."

Prominent lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of two gay men and two gay women, arguing that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of equal protection and due process.

Olson said he hopes the case, which seeks a preliminary injunction against the measure until the case is resolved, will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a former U.S. solicitor general who served in high-level Justice Department jobs in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090527/ap_on_...us_gay_marriage

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Utt Ohh, you're going to have Bathy ranting about why we need another Gay Marriage thread again ... :rotflmao:

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Just another reason why direct democracy is the tyranny of the majority and an absolutely awful system.

Luckily there will be another proposition in 2010 which will completely strip California of the ability to recognize any marriage. Instead it will have the power to issue civil unions to anyone who wants them, but to be married its only a matter of you and your religion. Not sure how that will work out against the fed but since other states are rebelling against the feds why the hell not...

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One more reason to run the religious right out of American politcs. heared an interesting interview with Barry Goldwater where he pretty much blasted the current Republican party for kissing the hind end of the religious right and the catholic church. He said that government should not try to legislate sexual morality.

I found myself agreeing with him.

Chris

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Just another reason why direct democracy is the tyranny of the majority and an absolutely awful system.

Luckily there will be another proposition in 2010 which will completely strip California of the ability to recognize any marriage. Instead it will have the power to issue civil unions to anyone who wants them, but to be married its only a matter of you and your religion. Not sure how that will work out against the fed but since other states are rebelling against the feds why the hell not...

+1

This is a great way to make the law and the church separate, as they should be.

I'm at the point now, where almost every religious establishment in America should have to pay taxes.

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One more reason to run the religious right out of American politcs. heared an interesting interview with Barry Goldwater where he pretty much blasted the current Republican party for kissing the hind end of the religious right and the catholic church. He said that government should not try to legislate sexual morality.

I found myself agreeing with him.

Chris

Thats because Goldwater is a real conservative.

IMO, if the Republican party supports its core conservative principles and gets off their moral high horse in 2010 they will start to win and retake the government. If they move to becoming moderates they will lose (such as McCain), if they continue to be a party ran by the religious types they will lose.

In the event of the 2 latter positions, i can only hope that the Libertarian party will gain enough support to ascend to the national level.

Edited by Teh Ricer Civic!
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Bush v. Gore lawyers take on gay marriage ban

59 mins ago

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two lawyers who squared off in the legal case that determined the 2000 U.S. presidential election joined forces on Wednesday to ask a federal court to halt California's same-sex marriage ban, despite warnings from gay rights advocates not to mount a federal challenge.

Ted Olson and David Boies, who opposed each other in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, said that gays and lesbians were made into second-class citizens by California's voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8.

They sued on behalf of two same-sex couples who want to marry but cannot because of the Prop 8's passage.

California's supreme court on Tuesday upheld the initiative, approved by voters in November. The decision said California's state constitution allows voters to make such changes despite broad protection for same-sex couples.

Prop 8 ended a brief period of legal same-sex marriage in California, begun when the same court opened the door to gay nuptials early in 2008.

Gay rights advocates, fearing a loss in the socially conservative top U.S. court, have avoided going to federal court after other state ballot box losses.

"A federal lawsuit at this time is terribly risky," said Jenny Pizer, one of the lawyers for Lambda Legal who argued against Prop 8 before the California court.

Her organization, the American Civil Liberties Union and others said in a statement, "without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage."

Olson, who represented then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and Boies, who represented then-Vice President Al Gore in 2000, jointly filed the lawsuit on Friday, before the California court acted.

On Wednesday they asked for an injunction on Prop 8. In the lawsuit they argue that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights and due process.

"This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution," the lawsuit reads.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman, writing by Peter Henderson, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Yahoo, Reuters

Edited by JamesBond
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I agree with the SCOCA's ruling while I disagree with the result.

Additionally, taking it to the SCOTUS right now is a terrible idea.

That said, I am very reluctantly not moving this to the politics forum because the discussion has been civil. Please don't make me regret it.

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We hold these truths to be self evident...

Those who oppose the marriage of two consenting adults based soley one the fact that they are of the same gender are pissing into the wind.

They will be very wet shortly.

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uh...
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+1

This is a great way to make the law and the church separate, as they should be.

I'm at the point now, where almost every religious establishment in America should have to pay taxes.

Then that means there should be no benefits (tax or gov't benefits) for being married for anyone.

If churches ever have to pay taxes, then so would every other charitable establishment that has put effort into trying to do good and help people in a country with dwindling morals and selfishness (Goodwill, united way, etc.)

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I wouldn't tax all of the religious establishments. Just the ones that form PACs and do other political work with money collected from religious donations.

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