pjvj (pjvj) wrote,

Oh Hey! Good job CA court en ré Prop 8. And here's why:

From [personal profile] elf

Prop 8 ruling quotes.

OCR'd the PDF, reformatted it (roughly; I'll finish later), and wanted to share some of it around. Lots of nifty parts in there; I'm enjoying both the rationale and the sharp focus--keeping it limited to specific legalities, rather than the broader issue of "is gay marriage okay?" The ruling focuses on the fact that Prop 8 removed a right, rather than that it "changed the constitution." That made it suspect, and the fact that the "right" may or may not have been necessary is considered unimportant: the thing is, gay people had this right, and it got taken away from them and not from others.

The quote in every news article (Prop 8 Trial Tracker calls it the "money line"): "By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal Protection Clause. We hold Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on this ground."

Other quotes(all emphases are added):
Prop 8 doesn't protect children:
Proposition 8 had one effect only. It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain from the State, or any other authorized party, an important right-the right to obtain and use the designation of 'marriage' to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less. Proposition 8 thereforecould not have been enacted to advance California's interests in childrearing or responsible procreation, for it had no effect on the rights of same-sex couples to raise children or on the procreative practices of other couples. Nor did Proposition 8 have any effect on religious freedom or on parents' rights to control their children's education; it could not have been enacted to safeguard these liberties.
No, it's not okay to just say 'domestic partnership'
we emphasize the extraordinary significance of the official designation of 'marriage.' That designation is important because 'marriage' is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of 'registered domestic partnership' does not.
Proponents didn't want to admit they were removing a right:
The question we therefore consider is this: did the People of California have legitimate reasons for enacting a constitutional amendment that serves only to take away from same-sex couples the right to have their lifelong relationships dignified by the official status of 'marriage,' and to compel the State and its officials and all others authorized to perform marriage ceremonies to substitute the label of 'domestic partnership' for their relationships?

Proponents resist this framing of the question. They deem it irrelevant to our inquiry that the California Constitution, as interpreted by the Marriage Cases, had previously guaranteed same-sex couples the right to use the designation of 'marriage,' because In re Marriage Cases was a "short-lived decision,"
Smaller scope doesn't make it worse than Amend. 2 in Colorado:
Proposition 8 is no less problematic than Amendment 2 merely because its effect is narrower; to the contrary, the surgical precision with which it excises a right belonging to gay and lesbian couples makes it even more suspect. A law that has no practical effect except to strip one group of the right to use a state-authorized and socially meaningful designation is all the more "unprecedented" and "unusual" than a law that imposes broader changes
Keeping the scope narrow:
We therefore need not decide whether a state may decline to provide the right to marry to same-sex couples. To determine the validity of Proposition 8, we must consider only whether the change in the law that it effected-eliminating by constitutional amendment the right of same-sex couples to have the official designation and status of 'marriage' bestowed upon their relationships, while maintaining that right for opposite-sex couples--was justified by a legitimate reason.
Ignoring the "bio parents are better" argument:
We need not decide whether there is any merit to the sociological premise of Proponents' first argument--that families headed by two biological parents are the best environments in which to raise children--because even if Proponents are correct, Proposition 8 had absolutely no effect on the ability of same-sex couples to become parents or the manner in which children are raised in California. As we have explained, Proposition 8 in no way modified the state's laws governing parentage, which are distinct from its laws governing marriage.
Ignoring the "no accidental procreation means gay people don't need marriage" argument:
it is no justification for taking something away to say that there was no need to provide it in the first place; instead, there must be some legitimate reason for the act of taking it away, a reason that overcomes the "inevitable inference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected." Romer, 517 U.S. at 634.
And no, making it broader would not have helped:
We in no way mean to suggest that Proposition 8 would be constitutional if only it had gone further-for example, by also repealing same-sex couples' equal parental rights or their rights to share community property or enjoy hospital visitation privileges. Only if Proposition 8 had actually had any effect on childrearing or "responsible procreation" would it be necessary or appropriate for us to consider the legitimacy of Proponents' primary rationale for the measure.

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