David Blankenhorn’s evolution on marriage equality is emblematic of the paradigm shift we are experiencing as a country on this issue. Loving gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to make the same lifelong commitment as everyone else and Blankenhorn’s agreement with that proposition puts him in the mainstream of American opinion.Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin • Discussing David Blankenhorn, a once-star proponent for California’s controversial Proposition 8, and his shift towards supporting marriage equality, which he expressed in an op-ed in the New York Times, which you can read here. Blankehorne founded the Institute for American Values and testified in favor of Prop. 8 during the trial in California. source (via • follow)
Judge Reinhardt does not hold there is a right to same sex marriage, only that CA had no rational reason to take away the label of marriage for use by gay and lesbian couples after the state had had already given it. By crafting the argument in this way, and making the case that the only reason for passing Prop. 8 was anti-gay animus, Judge Reinhardt has given Justice Kennedy a way to decide the case without embracing a major holding recognizing a right to same sex marriage generally.Rick Hansen • Regarding the nature of the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling on Proposition 8 earlier today. Hansen is suggesting that Judge Reinhardt cast the ruling in an intentionally narrow sense so as to make it easier for Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s most notorious swing voter, to uphold it on appeal. The distinction we made earlier could thus affect the future of gay marriage in California. In short, court rulings often possess a strategic, as well as a legal, foundation. source (via • follow)
A quick note about today’s prop 8 ruling: While the court did rule in favor of gay marriage, the court did not assert that gay marriage is a fundamental or constitutional right. That’s not the angle the court was coming from, and in fact, it intentionally deferred answering that question. Rather, the ruling rested on two assertions. One, the notion that US Constitution requires a “legitimate reason” for states to pass laws that treat “different classes of people differently.” Two, the fact that “under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status.” Because of this fact, Proposition 8 serves only and exclusively to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” The court ruled that this isn’t “legitimate reason,” and therefore, is unconstitutional. As we’ll explain later, this nuance has significant implications for future court rulings. source
And The fight over gay marriage rolls on: The California Supreme Court has ruled that opponents of gay marriage may defend the state’s ban, better known as Proposition 8, in court proceedings. Typically the task of defending such a state initiative falls on officials like the governor or attorney general, but both Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris have refused to do so, voicing opposition to the marriage restriction. This is broadly viewed as a table-setting sort of ruling — there’s a growing air of inevitability that the gay marriage issue is bound for the U.S. Supreme Court, where a ruling could impact the institution all across the country. source
» One note: Goodwin Liu has publicly opposed Proposition 8 in the past, so if he ends up hearing the case, supporters of the law will likely ask that he recuse himself. But that doesn’t mean he has to.
It is decidedly unjust and unreasonable to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second-class citizens while their U.S. District Court victory comes to its final conclusion.Chad Griffin, chairman of The American Foundation For Civil Rights • Speaking on the rejected plea to lift the stay on the Proposition 8 ruling. The proposition, which was approved by voters in the 2008 election, was ruled unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker last year, but a stay was put on his ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This was broadly thought to be a delay on the resumption of gay marriage in the state so that if/when a higher court examined the issue, the marriages wouldn’t again have to be halted if Walker’s verdict was overturned. Gay rights advocates are understandably unhappy, as the stay could conceivably last a year, and if civil rights are infringed, we suspect that’s not the expedient remedy most people would feel entitled to. source (via • follow)
Do we have to reach that point?Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt • Suggesting that the court may not decide the Prop. 8 case with a broad brush, and may choose a more narrow route instead. It seems that the court in general is favoring gay-marriage supporters, with the court’s most conservative judge, N. Randy Smith, noting that the blockage of marriage seems arbitrary, considering that gays have equal rights in almost every other point of Californian life. “What is the rational basis for that?,” he asked. source (via • follow)