Friday, May 16, 2008

California: Gay Marriage

California's decision on gay marriage is here.

Essentially, the majority ruled that even though California's domestic partnership rights very closely approximated equality, that keeping seperate names was inherently unequal. Their legal reasoning reads like a summary of AP court cases - Plessy, Brown, Lawrence, Loving. They address full faith an credit, contractual expectations, federalism, and unenumerated rights.

This is good news for those who support equality - it probably moves up the date of a Supreme Court ruling based on Brown and Loving by 5 years.

But it is bad news for Obama - by placing gay equality back on the public radar, the California court will re-energize demoralized culture warriors. A majority of Americans favor denying rights to gays and many of them will vote on that issue. McCain has already said that judges ought not to be making these rulings in contradiction of public and legislative will.

Oh how I wish a reporter would ask McCain if this reasoning applied to Brown as well! That would be an interesting response!

The McCain stance also calls to mind the New Deal political cartoon that condemned the Supreme Court's invalidation of the National Recovery Adminstration.

Please note that it appears McCain himself is not really anti-gay marriage - he has publicly said that we should leave the issue to the states (as have Clinton and Obama) - which in reality is support for gay marriage because state recognition triggers the full faith and credit clause, the Defense of Marriage Act nonwithstanding. However, Republicans facing a difficult electoral landscape would be insane to reject a strategy that propelled them to victory in 2008.

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