31 October 2008

Those darned 'Activist Judges' are 'Legislating from the Bench'

While having a discussion with a proponent of California's Prop 8, I asked why they were in support of this obviously unconstitutional proposition. This is their reply:

'Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court of California did not have a right to redefine marriage, even Justice Baxter of the California Supreme Court said the majority of the court was not within its rights when it changed the meaning of marriage. If people are scared about losing rights, they should be worried about courts changing the meaning of words and redefining social institutions. California already had very inclusive domestic partnership laws and those rights would be preserved if Proposition 8 passes next week. It is not tyranny from religious organizations the people ought to fear. They can only recommend their members support/oppose certain causes. California's Supreme Court was legislating in May; something it is not allowed to do. Now, that is something all Californians and Americans should fear.'

There are so many things wrong with this...starting with the complete inability to understand the function of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court does not 'redifine' or 'change the meaning of' anything. The role of the Supreme Court is to ensure a stable and predictable system of justice by serving as the final arbiter of disputes involving the state's constitution and laws. They can't CHANGE the constitution... they just assure that laws aren't VIOLATING the constitution, which is exactly what they did in overturning the ban on marriage between same gender partners. They determined, after hearing the evidence presented by BOTH sides of this issue, that there is no compelling reason to deny same gender partners their right to marry the person of their choice, and denying marriage to same gender couples was unconstitutional. That's all.

There are more than 1000 federal rights, benefits and privileges associated with marriage...this isn't an exaggeration, it comes directly from the General Accounting Office of the Federal Government. Domestic partnerships and civil unions, while a step in the right direction, don't even come close to conveying those rights, and will NEVER be equal to marriage. No matter how many times people say it, it still won't make it true, my friend. Separate but equal will never work.

California's Prop 8 (along with PROP 102 in Arizona and PROP 2 in Florida) absolutely IS tyranny by religious organizations. The majority of the support, financial and otherwise, for this mean spirited and discriminitory proposition is coming from religious organizations, and mostly from OTHER states. They have fired up religious conservatives by intentionally blurring the line between religious marriage, or the 'RITE' of holy matrimony, and civil marriage, which the Supreme Court has determined is a 'basic, fundamental RIGHT' of American citizens. Their ad campaign contains nothing but fear mongering based on complete and utter lies. We know it, and the sad thing is, they know it too.

I'd like to point out that the Supreme Court doesn't legislate...as anyone who paid attention in 8th grade civics class will tell you. The California General Assembly, who were elected by Californians, DOES legislate. In fact, they twice passed legislation in support of marriage equality, and both times it was vetoed by the governor. THAT is where the legislating takes place...not the courtroom. That's the difference between 'legislating' and being the final 'arbiter' of justice.

No comments: