Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prop 8 may still fail

This was shared with me by a friend and co-worker:

something I came across:

It may turn out that changing the state constitution is not so easy. There are only two ways to amend the state constitution, and Prop 8 should have been done as a "revision", not an "amendment", as discussed on these pages:

A "revision" requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature, or a constitutional convention, to start a ballot initiative that will change the state constitution. It's not supposed to be so easy to make important changes, and Prop. 8 did not follow the proper process. Prop. 8 went with a signatures-only start, which is only appropriate for a minor change (ie. an "amendment").

The California Supreme Court granted wide-ranging legal protection to our class this year, in clear legal wording that goes well beyond the single right that Proposition 8 addresses. Among other things, they said:

"An individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights."

The California Supreme Court will get a chance to rule on this "amendment" in due time, and it's likely they will consider the elimination of rights for a protected class to be a major change to the state constitution.

For example, Prop. 8 might have said that "Only marriage between a WHITE man and WHITE woman is allowed in the State of California." The court will treat Prop. 8 the same way that they would treat an amendment that took marriage rights from couples based on their race. Race = gender = sexual orientation... all are now classes of individuals protected from discrimination, according to the highest court in California. We have already won, our opponents just can't see it yet.

And keep in mind that Prop 8 had a much smaller margin of victory than Prop 22 did 8 years ago (it won by 66% back then), and a 10%+ change in public opinion in 8 years is really quite amazing and represents a fast-moving trend. Naturally we will not give up this fight, and if amending the state constitution is so simple, it's just a matter of time before our young folks (bless 'em), reverse this some day with a new inclusive, right-granting initiative.

The year 2008 will still stand out as a year of progress for us. Our enemies are hanging on to their last desperate threads of bigotry, but despite their efforts, many of us are married already, our community is energized once again, and they have only been able to prolong the inevitable by another couple of years, at best.

Steven M. Blum
Benefits Administrator
Morrison &
555 Market Street
SF, CA 94105

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