Ten years ago the state of California found itself embroiled in a debate over the nature of marriage. Listed on the ballot for the Fall elections was Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether states can ban same-sex marriages, and if so, whether states that ban same-sex marriages must recognize same-sex marriages from states that perform them.
Neither Hollingsworth nor Windsor demand that any church, even in states that allow gay marriage, be forced to conduct gay weddings. Moreover, these decisions do not affect the ability of churches to decry homosexuality or homosexual conduct as immoral.
By Jason Hines – Today was a landmark day for the Supreme Court, as it heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. I have written about this case at every level (on the state level and at the 9th Cir.) so it only seems right that I talk about the arguments that took place earlier today. However, it doesn’t make sense to give a straight up and down summary or even a major analysis (there are plenty of people who did a good job of that, including this article by Adam Serwer), but there are some things that I want to highlight. Some will be important, some won’t, but these are the things that came to mind as I listened to the oral arguments –
The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled two days of oral arguments on two separate but related cases beginning on March 26, 2013. The Court will be hearing arguments on California’s Proposition 8 which amended the state constitution to disallow same-sex marriage is constitutional and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In short, Judge Walker ruled based on the evidence presented, as any trial judge should, and regardless of his own personal sexual orientation or biases, Prop 8 supporters simply did not make a viable case for themselves. Sloganeering may have won the election but did not win a trial where real evidence was required. Prop 8 supporters may later look at the ruling and claim it was wrongly decided but as this essay points out, the reality is that they did a poor job presenting their evidence and only put two witnesses on the stand, both of whom had previously written statements that contradicted their testimony in favor of Prop 8. When both of these witnesses were neutralized, Prop 8 advocates had nothing left with which to prove their case and any effort by any judge to add in facts to uphold Prop 8 would have been the very definition of judicial activism.
Putting the emotional issues aside, this is the cold reality: If the U.S. Supreme Court takes this case and decides to uphold Proposition 8, this outcome could strip away fundamental principles that also protect religious minorities.
An epic battle played out on two levels at the California Supreme Court on March 5. On a surface level, attorneys fought over a technical issue of whether the Proposition 8 prohibition on gay marriage represented a revision or an amendment. On the deeper level, the question asked was whether there are any limits on the majority to impact the rights of the minority.
The plan is to mobilize the same religious factions that joined forces in California to deter lawmakers from “taking on this divisive social issue while we are in the middle of a huge financial crisis,” Gallagher said.
The race has tightened over the past six weeks and is expected to be close. A Field Poll released Friday found 49 percent of likely voters oppose the ban and 44 percent favor it. In mid-September, the measure was losing by 17 points.