Friday, August 6, 2010

The Decision on Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court of California at one point granted the right of marriage between same sex couples and from June 16, 2008 to November 5, 2008 an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples married in California. But when Proposition 8, an amendment to the California Constitution that limited marriages to those between one man and one woman was passed, the right to marry was limited to only heterosexual couples.

Voters approved the ban by a 52.3% margin six months after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was permitted under the state Constitution. The state high court later upheld Proposition 8 as a valid amendment to the state Constitution.

The right of marriage was denied to same-sex couples until August 4, 2010 when federal judge Vaughn R. Walker had stated that Proposition 8, passed by voters in November 2008, violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians to marry the partners of their choice. His ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and officially become active on August 19, 2010.

Under the ruling, Proposition 8 is said to be a violation of “the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The amendment enacted by the voters of California was said to burden the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and create an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.

He concluded that Proposition 8 "fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. … Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”

Many Californians (those who supported the controversial proposition) are currently outraged at the judge’s decision to overturn the ban. Fear that the federal government is exceeding the limit its constitutional powers is a primary focus for those who are also supporting the proposition based on their faith.

Yes it is true, "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” but like the ruling in the case of Brown v Board of Education, discriminatory acts towards a group of persons based on race, sex, gender, faith (or lack thereof), sexuality, age, you name it "violates the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws," Brown v. Board of Education laid the foundation for shaping future national and international policies regarding human rights. It would be an outright shame to remember this landmark case by reinstating the ban based on what religious doctrines.

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