The Prop 8 Ruling: Discrimination as a Constitutional Principle


Today, the California Supreme Court allowed discrimination to be written into the state Constitution.

Prop8guideToday, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that changed the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

I’m not just upset about this for my own personal reasons. I’m not just upset because I’m a woman in love with and married to another woman, and marriage equality is an issue of great personal importance for me. I’m not just upset because I think LGBT rights, including marriage equality, are among the most important civil rights issues of our day, with implications for straight people as well as queer. I’m not even just upset because of the intensely personal slap in the face: the slap of being told, by a majority of the people in your state and by the highest court of that state, that I am now, officially and legally and inscribed into the state Constitution, a second-class citizen.

All of that is bad enough. But it’s not the worst of it.

The worst of it is the precedent it sets.

JusticeSee, this isn’t just about gay rights and marriage equality. This is about the principle that certain rights are inalienable. This is about the principle that, as important as democracy is, as important as it is for people to be able to vote on the laws and policies that govern them, certain rights transcend that principle, and cannot be taken away by majority rule. This is about the principle that there are limits to mob rule: that the fears and hatreds and prejudices of one class of people towards another cannot be inscribed into law. This is about the principle that people have every right to be bigots, but they do not have the right to write their bigotry into law… even if that bigotry is shared by the majority.

That principle was violated today.

It is now official California state policy, written into our Constitution, that fundamental rights can be taken away by a simple majority vote. It is now official California state policy that if enough people in the state don’t like you, they can amend the Constitution to restrict your access to the institutions and laws, the rights and responsibilities, that are generally available to everyone. It is now official California state policy that discrimination against a specific class of people can be written into the Constitution if enough people support it. It is now official California state policy, written into our Constitution, that the basic principle of equality is less important than mob rule.

I don’t know enough about the law to know whether, from a purely legal standpoint, today’s decision is appropriate or defensible. I don’t know enough about the law to know how legal scholars will look at this decision in ten or twenty or fifty years: whether they will see it as unfortunate but legally necessary, or as a grotesque travesty of the most precious principles that are the foundation of the law, and indeed at the core of the very idea of justice.

Unbalanced_scales-too-far-rightI don’t know enough about the law to judge whether this decision is legally supportable. But I know this: It is a gross miscarriage of justice. And my greatest fear is this: Even if Proposition 8 eventually gets overturned by yet another ballot initiative (which I expect it will, sooner or later), that miscarriage of justice — the precedent that it’s okay to amend the state Constitution to discriminate against a particular class of citizens as long as that class is feared and despised by the majority — will linger on.

Comments

  1. madaha says

    can we just admit that this “state’s rights” right-wing framing is working only too well, and we shouldn’t lay down for it? This is NOT an issue to be voted on, state by piddly state, these are human rights, and we need to demand leadership at the FEDERAL LEVEL. It’s time for some MLK marches on washington. We’re on the right side of history, there is no way we should be putting up with this crap. MLK did not campaign for votes, he demanded leadership from the courts and the legislature. Why aren’t we doing the same? Civil rights and abortion rights were made at federal court levels, and state by state they’re being stripped away. Let’s do it the right way, the tried and true way. These state battles end up being tempests in teacups, back and forth, back and forth. let’s take this tornado where it needs to be: DC.

  2. Jesse D. says

    I was gravely disappointed to read about the court’s decision in the news earlier. I’m glad they at least upheld the legality of the existing same-sex marriages in the state, particularly for the sake of your marriage to Ingrid.
    At this point, my hope is the trend for states to legalize gay marriage will continue to build in strength, and will eventually lead to nation-wide acceptance, or action at the Federal level as madaha mentioned.
    I’ve often felt there is a fine line between democracy and mob rule. As Winston Churchill said, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

  3. Mark says

    As an outsider looking in, I have to admit: it makes California look broken. But this is the historical fate of state governments; it’s really just California’s turn.
    Having grown up in Richmond, Virginia, I carry around in my head a long history of the civil rights movement in that city: of the nasty fighting, the political and economic movements made to keep people segregated, and the legacy of bitterness that lasts until today. The saddest part about this piece of American history is that in a certain sense, the civil rights movement was a failure of democracy… A minority of people strong-armed the majority into an outcome counter to their desire, which has left ill will to this day. Most people in Richmond didn’t want integration; it was forced on them, and they fought with every legal and some illegal measure at hand to keep the world their parents and grandparents knew.
    But in a larger sense, the movement was a success for American government, which is only democratic to a point. The country is bound together by over-arching laws and philosophies that allow for the possibility of a mob mentality counter to the best interests of the people. So the other commenters are right—it’s time to take the fight to the other coast, straight up the steps of the Supreme Court and the Capitol. Not since the Civil War have the states been the trustworthy safe-houses of American liberty; they are now relegated to administrative adjuncts of the United States government.
    I don’t know if California’s constitution should protect an adult’s right to marry another consenting adult. I do firmly believe the US Constitution does.

  4. says

    I think you are right about the fact that a constitution that allows a simple majority to deny a minority of their basic rights is, to say it mildly, not best for a democracy.
    However, I do no think that this was set by the decision today. This was in
    the California constitution much earlier, by the statute that allows
    constitutional amendments by a simple majority. Any society needs a means of
    updating its core principles, since morals change (usually for the better) over time. Basic rights such as Women’s suffrage and the abolishment of slavery were introduced as constitutional amendments.
    The problem in California is that making these amendments is too easy. A simple majority of the people could not be allowed to re-define basic moral principles. Allowing a distinguished majority to amend the constitution is more appropriate, since these amendments should be extremely rare.
    Unamendable documents have given rise to the travesties of religion, and indeed, documents such as the Bible have given rise to Prop 8 itself. Even though I am a strong supporter of equality, I think the court has made the correct decision, the only decision it could have made based on the law.
    What I would recommend is to amend the constitution in order to correct this flaw, and indeed, remove the offensive prop 8 and re-affirm the rights of all the people, including us.

  5. CybrgnX says

    Lets see if I have this right. In california gays could get married but people who did not like that got the constitution changed to outlaw something they did not like. Correct? So a lot of folks don’t like blacks marrying non-blacks but it is legal to do so. So if a bunch of us get together we can change the law to make that illigal too. We don’t like jews either so we can…..
    Yes I see how this can end.

  6. says

    I am worried – for all the reasons you said, the idea that fundamental rights can be brushed aside
    But I am also afraid for the message this sends.
    Because this says homophobia is ok. It’s not only ok but it has been ENDORSED. Homophobia has been written in the most fundamental legal document of the state. And that is scary
    How can you tell people homophobia is wrong, that prejudice is wrong, that gays are not beneath heterosexuals, that gays should not be abused when the constitution itself says “actually, gays are 2nd class, lesser, beneath straights.”
    The principles cannot match. It doesn’t just throw out the right of marriage. It doesn’t just make rights subject to the whims of the mob – it undermines the very principle that homosexuals are equal citizens and shouldn’t be treated like shit – the constitution itself is disagreeing with that. Saying it’s ok to treat gay people differently.
    And that is frightening

  7. says

    I have to admit that this is the ruling I expected, although not the one I was hoping for.
    As much of a travesty as this is, the one bright side is that the Court ensured the validity of all marriages performed before Prop 8 passed. I realize that’s little comfort to the same-sex couples who are now barred from marriage, but I hope that you and Ingrid can take some solace from it, Greta, on a personal level at least. And I think it is something to take heart over: Californians will have 18,000 examples to prove that same-sex marriage won’t destroy society as we know it, 18,000 examples to help them get used to the idea. More than anything else, it seems that knowing a GLBT person – that GLBT people being visible – is the deciding factor in whether a person is likely to support gay rights. We’ve known that since Harvey Milk’s time. It may take some time, but Prop 8 will be voted down, marriage equality will be restored in California, and those existing marriages will likely mean that that day comes even sooner than it otherwise will.
    I want to second Alon’s comment: The fundamental problem is that California has made amending its state constitution just too easy. Constitutions are supposed to protect minority rights against an overreaching majority, and when a constitution can be changed by 50%-plus-1, it doesn’t serve that goal. Truth, it’s easier in California to strip people of basic human rights than it is to raise their taxes. Bare majorities can serve to pass ballot measures and otherwise direct the state in the use of the legitimate powers it already possesses. Creating a new state encroachment on people’s liberty ought to take a lot more than that.

  8. Leum says

    Greta, I’d like to extend my sympathies to you and the state of California. Your post today made me understand the enormity of Prop 8 and the decision, something I hadn’t fully grasped before. You’re right; it doesn’t matter whether the CA Court’s ruling was legally correct, what matters is that CA is broken enough that such a ruling might be.

  9. says

    California needs a constitutional convention at which the initiative process could be reformed to support a process for social progress, at which the 2/3 rule to pass a budget would be dumped, and an iron-clad constitutional CHANGE that would not permit the human rights of any group to be subject to a popular vote. Such is the result of tyranny. Many Catholics and Mormons have lent their religion and their money to the cause of evil. When gay people achieve full equality in the USA, the bigots who worked to deny us our full civil rights will have to answer for the hatred that they have fostered and the lies that they have propagated against us. We must not shirk from our duty to speak truth to power, which is in this case a religion with a worldview steeped in the xenophobia of the Dark Ages.

  10. MPL says

    First, let me offer my condolences for what is a personal and social injustice.
    Second, a lot of features of government in the “big, squarish” states looks pretty alarming to those of us back east. The court should never have made this ruling, because altering the constitution by majority referendum is absolute madness. A constitution that can be rewritten with 50+% support isn’t a constitution, it’s a habit. Frankly, constitutional law is not something that common voters are equipped to do, nor is it something that should be done on a whim. When it is, you get shit like this.

  11. says

    With other states now starting to extend traditional marriage rights to adults of the same sex why does California seem to think it is OK to go backwards? Is it possible that the first state to recognise gay marriage will one day be the last to allow it? How sad and how ridiculous.

  12. says

    Greta, I’m a long-time reader and infrequent commenter. I agree with the folks who say that the ruling was strictly along the lines of the law. We saw a year ago that the California Supreme Court was on our side — after all, they’re the ones who interpreted the law to say that same-sex marriage was a right.
    I agree that it’s crazy that it’s so easy to amend the constitution in California. Unfortunately, however, making it hard doesn’t always stop the crazy. Here in Tennessee, amending the constitution requires two legislative votes in consecutive years and a majority vote by the voters in the next election. Sadly, the same-sex marriage ban passed with flying colors — fully 80% of the voting population are bigots here. (And it looks like we will soon be subject to an abortion ban done in the same way.)
    So take solace that at least Proposition 8 can be overturned. I’m donating $$$ to Equality California so that I can rejoice vicariously in justice being done. It will take federal recognition of same-sex marriage before it will ever happen in Tennessee, I’m afraid — and even then, the anti-marriage-equality crowd won’t go down without a fight. I expect a governor standing in the courthouse door, not allowing teh gayz in.

  13. Bruce Gorton says

    Say you are poor, you have hit that humbling moment where you realise you were living beyond your means, you are trying to get people to help you out, so what do you do?
    If you are California’s electorate the answer is simple: Be an asshole.
    That’s the whole thing about this that gets me, California is broke. It actually is at the point where it needs help, and how is the state acting?
    It is putting down a minority. It is acting like all bigots act when under pressure, it is looking for some minority to take it out on.
    And frankly, that is not the sort of person I feel like helping.

  14. Jon Berger says

    I agree with your analysis: if they can do this to you, they can do it to anyone. It takes a little bit of work to come up with an example, because you need a constitutional right under the California constitution that isn’t also guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution; not even this case means that they can take away your federal constitutional rights with a state ballot proposition. But, for example, it’s well-established that the California constitution provides greater protection for speech than the First Amendment. There’s a famous case called Pruneyard v. Robins which holds that under the California constitution, people have free-speech rights when they’re on privately-owned land that’s open to the public, like for example shopping mall parking lots. Under the U.S. Constitution, owners of private property, even when it’s open to the public, can regulate speech on their property. That’s why you have people handing you flyers in shopping-mall parking lots all the time; this is purely a California thing, because of our more stringent constitutional protection of free speech. Well, after yesterday, I can’t think of a reason in the world why the electorate couldn’t modify the California constitution to say “groups which promote animal rights, withdrawal from Iraq, or legalization of marijuana shall have only those free speech rights which are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” I believe that Strauss (the official name of yesterday’s opinion) is valid authority for the proposition that that would be constitutional.
    The Supremes did get one thing right, though: they pointed out that the underlying problem here is the ballot-initiative process itself: “In a sense, petitioners’ and the Attorney General’s complaint is that it is just too easy to amend the California Constitution through the initiative process.” (On page 12.) And that’s absolutely true: our system is insane. It’s absolutely at odds with the fundamental principle of a constitutional democracy: that the constitution, the organizing document of the political system, is the supreme law to which all other laws must defer. In contrast, remember from those sixth-grade civics classes what it takes to amend the U.S. Constitution? The guys who wrote that one really bought into the idea that the purpose of a constitution is to protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Ever since we got constitutional amendments by ballot initiative in California, that really hasn’t been true here, and yesterday’s ruling was just the most egregious illustration of that point. It takes a two-thirds majority to pass a friggin’ budget, but the constitution can be amended by a majority vote. With a system that profoundly flawed, we shouldn’t even be surprised when there are some crappy outcomes. The Supremes can try to be the guardians at the gate with lawyerly hair-splitting over the difference between “amendment” and “revision” up to a point, but ultimately, we shouldn’t be in that position in the first place, and the only reason we are is that constitutional amendment by ballot proposition is idiotic.

  15. DownriverDem says

    I don’t think this was a good ruling at all. How can you say it’s okay to not allow gays to marry, but those who are already married can be married? This seems like a court challenge in the making or a new prop to overturn prop 8.

  16. says

    You nailed what it was that was bothering me about this decision. It appears rational and based on law, but your point about mob rule getting written into the law outlines in bright yellow hilighter the principle of “minority rights”.

  17. absent sway says

    I was sad for our state again yesterday, too. What comforts me is that this is temporary. There are many Californias and the fact that the most visible California is liberal makes it more jarring for those unacquainted with the rest of them when these sorts of things happen. California is not newly bigoted or newly broken; it just happens to be as conservative in some parts as it is liberal in others, and those conservative sentiments happen to be more visible now. I come from the interior, from one of the parts of the state with the highest support of Prop 8, and even I have seen attitudes improve and people change, little by little, over the last ten years. Time is on our side, and it seems to me that this ruling makes it more likely for the fight to move to the national level. Public sentiment has not shifted against gay people; it is continually moving (unfortunately slowly) in the direction of supporting them. There just weren’t enough people yet for the support that was needed last November (or, equally importantly, not enough of them voting, not enough of them realizing how close this thing was going to be).

  18. Nosmo King says

    Greta–
    This sucks, of course, but was not unfortunately unexpected. The California Constitution ever since 1915 or so (in an attempt at democratic reform that has gone mostly awry) has been for sale to anyone with deep pockets, the ability to gin up fear, and a willingness to lie through the teeth. In the absence of any more sympathetic or inclusive Federal law (DOMA, anybody?), we are stuck.
    I’m also wary of a Constitutional Convention– who knows what deep-pockets interests would bubble up in that swamp? I say we need to game the system, and work on 2 initiatives, stat: one that makes initiatives subject to modification by the Legislature, not just by further initiative; and a second that mandates a two thirds vote of the registered electorate for further constitutional amendments by initiative, but not for existing articles. (hey, if there can be two classes of gay people, those who can be married, and those who can’t, why not two classes of Constitutional amendments?). That ought to do it. Maybe. I offer a heartfelt “Congratulations on still being married”, but recognize the smallness of that particular beer.
    Speaking of small beer, and knowing that nomenclature and framing are important, I was wondering if you had seen this diary from DailyKos yesterday:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/26/133251/330
    (sorry for HTML illinkacy)
    It does seem as though the State Supremes are basically giving them only the word “marriage”, for the time being. Not nothing, but not everything either, and certainly not what the Yes on 8’ers might have thought they were getting. So, onward to 2010. We as progressives (liberals, anarchists, weirdos, right-thinkers, pick your label) need to take advantage of the “50% plus one vote equals new constitution” too, while we can. 50 +1 gets us marriage equality. 50 +1 abolishes the 2/3rds vote budget and tax requirement. I have watched the right wing these past many years, and they NEVER, EVER give up. We have to be strategic, get what we want, and then make it harder to get what they want. Now is a pretty good time to do that.
    –Nosmo King

  19. Loren Bliss says

    Many of this nation’s founders, most notably Thomas Jefferson (though he was far from alone), were deeply concerned about its potential for “the tyranny of the majority” — the ability of majorities to use majority rule to oppress minorities, the one great flaw in democratic theory. Hence the Bill of Rights, written specifically as a defense against such tyranny, and also the 14th Amendment, enacted immediately after the Civil War to define U.S. citizenship and thus protect — though adequate enforcement would require the passage of yet another hundred years — the rights of African-Americans.
    But yesterday’s ruling by the California State Supreme Court not only upholds the infinite hatefulness of Proposition 8; it nullifies all protection against the majority tyranny the founders so feared. And given the hard-right ideology of the Bush Supreme Court, it will undoubtedly affirm the California ruling and make it the permanent law of the land.
    While these results are bad enough, the outcry over the California ruling — focused as it is on the devastating loss of citizenship rights suffered by homosexuals — obscures the decision’s far greater consequence: the de facto legalization of theocracy, with the result there is now no longer any judicial defense against its unspeakable savagery.
    The public support for Proposition 8 reveals the magnitude of the theocratic threat. The Mormons and the Roman Catholic Church joined forces to organize the California initiative to outlaw gay marriage, invoking the biblical principle that homosexuality is a mortal sin and that a homosexual is therefore an “abomination” — an affront to the ever-vengeful god of Abraham: that is, the deity of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Christian effort garnered a decisive majority vote — 52 percent — with polls indicating that actual public support ran as high as 57 percent.
    But the terrifying implications of these numbers were suppressed by Big Business Media. The Big Lie analysts who said they were shocked by Proposition 8’s enactment and reassured us it was merely an anomaly were widely published and broadcast. Truthful analysts — those who pointed out the California results were predictable given earlier findings that 63 percent of the U.S. population believes the Bible is the infallible word of god — were methodically silenced. Additional data — the breathtaking misogyny evident in popular opposition to reproductive choice (51 percent) and the hatred of science proven by wholesale rejection of evolution (60 percent) — portrays a Christian population already so willfully ignorant and bigoted its only present-day doctrinal counterparts are products of the harshest Islamic despotisms. Hence the California results: not only statistically unavoidable, but literally the knell of doom for what little remains of U.S. constitutional liberty — no doubt the reason their true significance was so thoroughly censored.
    In truth, Christians and their Big Business financiers have been scheming for at least a century to impose theocracy on the United States. And now they’ve won: once the Bush Court’s theocratic majority upholds the California decision, its meaning — that constitutional rights can be overturned by popular vote — removes the last barrier to the Christian version of Talibanic despotism.
    Why theocracy? Because its vicious sexual oppression and its omnipresent death-squad paranoia maximizes profits: the example of the U.S. South long ago proved a theocratically terrorized workforce is the most profitable workforce on earth. And as we all know, the propagation of capitalism — absolute protection of the ruling class, total subjugation of all the rest of us — is the sole purpose of government and governance at all levels of the United States.
    — Loren Bliss
    (Originally posted on AlterNet 26 May 2009)

  20. konrad_arflane says

    As I understand it, the trouble with this case, and part of the reason the suit was defeated, was that it was based on a fairly narrow argument in Californian constitutional law; namely, that prop 8 had sufficiently broad effects that it should be considered a constitutional revision, and not just an amendment. Revisions require a more complicated process than the simple-majority-referendum needed for amendments.
    Any other arguments one might reasonably make (many of which boil down to the same basic concept: this is not what constitutions are for) were not made as part of this suit, for reasons that are unclear to me. The court was obliged to consider only the argument made during the case proceedings, and that was considered insufficient.
    I’m interested (as a European) what the relationship is between the state constitutions and the US constitution. I would imagine the federal one trumps the state ones, but I’m not certain, and I don’t know if the US constitution contains language that could reasonably be said to make the outlawing of gay marriage unconstitutional.

  21. says

    konrad, the federal Constitution does trump state constitutions if they conflict, but so far no court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. And with the current makeup of the Supreme Court, it’s not likely that we’ll see such a ruling any time soon.

  22. Leum says

    And the CA Supreme Court avoided bringing Loving v Virginia* into its ruling because then it would have been a US Constitutional issue that might have made getting a favorable ruling later more difficult (the courts rely on precedent. To the point where judges and justices have written opinions saying, in essence, “Even though Leum v Humanity was probably incorrect, we’re still upholding it here.”
    *The case that legalized mixed-race marriage and declares marriage to be a right within the US

  23. Loren Bliss says

    Apropos the correctness of my analysis of the California decision and as reported by Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) a few moments ago: former courtroom adversaries David Boies and Theodore Olson (Bush v. Gore) have joined hands in a federal-court lawsuit reiterating one of the arguments I stated above: that Proposition 8 and the decision upholding it violate U.S. Constitutional guarantees of equal protection. As Ms. Maddow says, this suit will undoubtedly reach the U.S. Supreme Court. What she did not say is that the conservative majority on the court will undoubtedly uphold the California court decision, thereby — just as I predict — removing the last obstacle to official theocracy and the Christian version of a Talibanic state.

  24. Loren Bliss says

    Which makes this also relevant:
    The United States set itself on a permanent course toward theocracy when it added the phrase “under God” to the “Pledge of Allegiance” — the capital G forcing us to declare specific allegiance to the infinitely oppressive, exclusively male deity of Christianity any time we declare allegiance to the United States.
    Thus 55 years later the U.S. is already a de facto theocracy, a condition that cannot be ameliorated by any democratic process simply because the minds of theocrats (whether Bible-pounder, Qu’ran-brandisher or Talmud-thumper) are forever sealed by the impenetrable cement of fundamentalism and the inviolable code of fundamentalist savagery. Hence Proposition 8.
    It also relevant to note again how the California results were absolutely predictable given earlier findings: that 63 percent of the U.S. population believes the Bible is the infallible word of god; the breathtaking misogyny evident in popular opposition to reproductive choice (51 percent); the hatred of science proven by wholesale rejection of evolution (60 percent); the implacable hostility to gays evidenced by three-fourths of the African-American population and two-thirds of the Hispanic population. All this data portrays a Christian population far too maliciously bigoted and aggressively ignorant to be re-educable and also suggests Proposition 8-type measures will win every state save perhaps Washington, a realm of atheism, agnosticism and alternative spirituality in which practicing Christians make up only about 28 percent of the population.
    Meanwhile Keith Olbermann (also MSNBC) followed up Maddow’s report tonight by acknowledging the near-certainty the Supreme Court will seize upon Boies/Olson suit to nullify the equal protection clauses. This in turn would give the voters permission to repeal the First Amendment and establish de jure theocracy, which given prevalent attitudes they will surely do. Therefore forget squandering money in definitively futile attempts to change the voters’ minds. The only sensible response for those of us on the Christian list of “heretics and abominations” is to follow the example set by the Jews in the early years of Hitler’s Third Reich: leave the country while we still can, before the Christian hate list becomes the U.S. death list.

  25. Leum says

    Loren, you’re panicking. The number of people who want a theocracy do not form a significant enough of a majority to repeal the first amendment, and the Supreme Court, for all its many faults, isn’t about to overturn it. To ban same-sex marriage, yes, but not to completely throw out freedom of religion.
    And things are getting better. The demographics are swinging in our favor. The group that voted most overwhelmingly for Prop 8 was old people.

  26. Loren Bliss says

    Actually Leum, I’m not panicking at all; I’m stating facts that are sociologically obvious but nevertheless methodically suppressed or at least minimized.
    First, as California goes, so eventually goes the nation; had Proposition 8 happened in Tennessee or Nebraska, it could be dismissed as an anomaly. But the fact it happened in the most pop-culturally avante garde state in the U.S. proves the pro-theocracy forces have now perfected their propaganda and can thus impose the same oppression in nearly every state of the union.
    Secondly, as someone who has dealt with demographics for most of my professional life (which includes a career in writing, editing and social-documentary photography that spans half a century), I know the flaw in the age-group data you cite. Precisely because the U.S. population is the most ignorant such population in the industrial world — this truly is Moron Nation — its younger cohorts are also the most easily swayed. As the Obama Campaign so vividly demonstrated, all that is needed to mobilize these cohorts — in any direction the ruling class chooses — is the appropriate atmosphere of celebrity. Verily, with the right kind of celebrity campaign, the ruling class could get a clone of Adolf Hitler elected president.
    Thirdly, the polls universally indicate the conditions for de jure theocracy — the cancer of Christianity and its associated bigotry (the data I noted above and a great deal more that says essentially the same thing) — is intensifying not diminishing. (Christianity a cancer? Given the combination of Fundamentalist aggression and how the so-called “mainstream” churches effectively countenance it by their submissive silence, no other label applies: hence its metastasis throughout the body politic of the nation.)
    Fourth, a huge popular impetus to fundamentalism is being provided by President Obama, whose ethnic and religious hostilities to homosexuality and homosexuals — not the least his betrayal of the campaign-promise to end don’t-ask/don’t-tell — function as celebrity endorsements of bigotry. (Despite the deliberate confusion engendered by the deceptive substitution of “evangelical” for “fundamentalist,” fundamentalism is fundamentalism — hateful, violent and oppressive — just as theocracy is theocracy.)
    Lastly, if you study the data accessible by Googling “Religion in the United States” (with or without the quotation marks), you will discover that while passive Christianity is dwindling, aggressively hateful Christianity — fundamentalism — is growing rapidly. While I do not expect to live long enough to see Moron Nation take its final plunge into de jure theocracy — otherwise I would be making plans to leave the country permanently — it is nevertheless the logical fulfillment of the forces unleashed when the phrase “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance.
    (Disclosure: I am a heterosexual civil-libertarian socialist — one might say a “fundamentalist” on the Bill of Rights — with lesbian and gay relatives.)

  27. Valhar2000 says

    I am amazed that you would write a post like this, Greta, and I am also amazed by the people who beleive that this is an incorrect ruling, much less a “travesty of justice” or any such garbage.
    The travesty of justice was the passing of Proposition 8, and the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of the legion of marching morons that populates the Golden State.
    In this ruling, the Court did its job by upholding the law as it is clearly written. Proposition 8 was a constitutional amendment that required a simple majority to pass. It fulfilled all these requirements, and therefore it is legal.
    If the court had weaseled its way into repealing this amendment it would have set a much more dangerous amendment than the current ruling does: the idea that a court can wipe its ass with the law if the judges that are in place happen not to like it, which may be fine and good when the judges agree with you, but will (and I say “will”, not “might”) be disastrous when the other side get their people in and start legislating against you.
    So, correct the real problem, Proposition 8, and stop harrassing the Court for working correctly.

  28. says

    I’m sorry, Valhar2000, but I don’t agree with you, and many legal experts are with me on this. The job of the Supreme Court (one of them, anyway) is to overturn laws that are unconstitutional. This isn’t about overturning laws that the court happens not to like. It’s about overturning laws that contradict a fundamental principle of the Constitution.
    I am arguing that Prop 8 violates a fundamental principle of the California Constitution — and you haven’t said anything to change my mind about that. You’ve simply said that that the majority can pass any Constitutional amendment that it likes, and the California Supreme Court is helpless to do anything about it — and that is flatly not true.

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