On Nov. 4th, Proposition 8 was approved by California voters seeking to override the State Supreme Court determination that the law cannot deny full marriage rights to couples on the basis of sex. The full text of the ballot initiative appears below.
This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution. This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.
SECTION 1. Title: This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”
SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read: SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Decisions such as that in the 2003 case of Lawrence vs Texas instantly invalidated the laws against sodomy in Texas as well as those still on the books in any other state. In 1963 the case of Loving vs Virginia struck down all state laws that banned interracial marriage. No Supreme Court challenge has yet been brought against any state's discriminatory laws that deny marriage to citizens based on a question of gender or sexual identities. But it is only a matter of time before it happens.
I am looking forward to a very interesting read when the not-too-future Supreme Court issues its final decision. Cases of this nature, of which there have been few, tend to serve as a platform for justices to exercise their most high-falutin' oratorical muscles in either affirming the decision or dissenting from the majority (All except for Clarence Thomas who is known to keep pretty tight-lipped on most subjects). You know that right-wing ideologue Antonin Scalia - the most grandiloquent justice of the last century - will have a field day with his emotional dissent. He will likely decry the inevitable decision by his colleagues to legalize gay marriage everywhere in the US as the end of civilization as we know it.
The assenting Justices of the Court should see fit to have their majority decision rendered by Justice David Souter, as it would provide him with a grand occasion to make his debut as the highest ranking, finally out-of-the-closet gay man in American history. It will be his duty to recount for the ages the multitude of long-standing injustices that will be rectified thereafter when committed partnerships of the heart are equally recognized under the law of the land.
Going straight to the heart of the matter, the recorded decision must assert the right - too long denied - of all citizens to lives of liberty and happiness which can only be possible when there are no more gender-based legal barriers to our fulfillment as partners in pursuit of the American dream. The right and ability of responsible adults to marry as they choose is the one prerequisite for civil propagation of society itself. Finally, the doors will be thrown open to those untold legions of couples across this land who were previously routinely denied the very opportunity to participate in society whose basic unit is held to be the family.
It has to be argued that exclusively heterosexual individuals, by definition, have little to no known capacity - much less will - for physical consummation of any relationship with a person of the same sex when people of the opposite sex are available. So heterosexuals have nothing to loose, nothing to give up in reversing the Court's original decision that extended marriage rights to homosexual couples. The original complainants who brought the matter to referendum in California - and anyone who would challenge an eventual positive ruling by the Court - should therefore be found to have no standing in the case. It clearly does not affect their access to marriage as it is.