Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jerry Brown Calls For A Judicial End To Prop H8TE

Early last year the California Supreme Court allowed gay couples to have the same marital rights as straight couples. That was followed by an ashamedly successful attempt at squashing those equal rights established by the state's Court. Now the issue is back at the CA Supreme Court because the constitutionality of the proposition is in question. During the process, California Attorney General Jerry Brown subtly took the side of equal rights proponents, but had to hold back because of his position within the government. Today he is pulling no punches as the Court considers to strike down Prop 8 and affirm their decision from last year.

From DailyKos:

The case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have?

The state faced a dilemma like this before. In 1964, 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14, which would have legalized racial discrimination in the selling or renting of housing. Both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts struck down this proposition, concluding that it amounted to an unconstitutional denial of rights.

As California's Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons – because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry.

Some vigorously disagree. That's the position of Ken Starr and those who argue that a simple majority can eliminate the right to marry. But such a claim completely ignores California's history and the nature of our constitution.

Fundamental rights in California are recognized and protected by our constitution, which declares in Article I, Section 1 that "all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights" and "among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

At the end of the day everyone's rights under the law must be protected, preserved and enshrined whether or not they love someone of the same sex or not. The Court understood the importance of liberty last year and it should not be any different in 2009. Tyranny by the majority is something that our country has fought against for centuries, slowly expanding fundamental rights to all citizens. That progress must not be impeded because a victory for equal rights would send a loud and clear message across the country.