Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marriage Equality in Cali

Good news from the California Supreme Court today.

If you haven't been following this at all, the important difference here from Massachusetts is that California already had civil unions with all the same rights as marriage, their ban just didn't allow homosexuals usage of the name. California's highest court said, quite rightly, that such a ban is discriminatory. As Andrew Sullivan points out, if all you're holding onto is the name is there any explanation other than bias? It's also important to note that if you hear anybody whining about "judicial activism" you can point out the the California Supreme Court is dominated by judges nominated by Republican Governors (6 of 7).

Marriage Equality isn't out of the woods yet though, as there is a ballot initiative in the works to amend the California Constitution in November. As Kevin drum points out in that link, the original legislative effort that was overturned today (Prop 22) passed with 63% of the vote... but it has been 8 years since that, and 4 years since gay marriage has been legal in my own state. Sullivan (probably one of your goto sources on this issue) says polling shows the state at about 50-50 right now.

The final issue, is the worry that this ruling might cause "headaches for liberals" in the Fall. Besides being a "rain on your own parade" kind of thought when we should be happy for gay couples in California... I'm not really buying it, because it's 2008 not 2004 and the country hasn't exploded in hellfire despite all the married queers up here. Yes, having anti-gay marriage amendments in states all over the place in 2004 was a good GOTV tactic for Republicans... but all of those states have their bigotry enshrined in their Constitutions already. I just don't think shouting "liberal! liberal! liberal!" is going to work this time. The war sucks and the economy sucks and McCain is proposing another 4 years of the same policies (except even more war!). I really don't think people are going to be voting on marriage rights in California (well, except in California obviously). At least I hope they aren't, since the day after Kerry lost and all those states had banned gay marriage was probably the most dejected I've ever been about politics.