Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Court Rules Ban On Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

Here in California we have a great process that allows us to keep our legislators in check. If we want a law and the legislature keeps dragging its feet, we can put it on the ballot, vote for it, and make it law. It's "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Back in March of 2000, California passed Proposition 22 which amended state law to read "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or
recognized in California." 61.4% of the people who voted on the proposition voted yes. Unfortunately, since it is only law and not part of the Constitution, it is still subject to the courts. Well, the top court in California has had its say and has deemed the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Now, I am against gay marriage, believing that, by definition, marriage is between one man and one woman, but I am also upset at how the will of the people were subverted by the courts. The system of checks and balances is a great thing... by having the courts able to declare a law unconstitutional, it is a check on the legislature. The problem I have is that the courts, instead of being "for the people" have decided to legislate from the bench not only overriding the people's will, but "creating law" as well - getting rid of the check and balance system. The next step for traditional marriage proponents will most likely have to be a constitutional amendment, which means more spending to "change" the law back to what it "is".

Information on Prop 22 taken from ProtectMarriage.com and the Official California Legislative Information site. Disclosure: ProtectMarriage.com is a former customer of my company prior to the sale of that part of our business.

8 comments:

Glen said...

Would you feel the same way if the people of California voted 70% to deny tax exempt status for churches, and the Supreme Court called it Unconstitutional?

Sean said...

i actually think the court did the right thing here. this is a hot button issue and i'd be willing to bet that most people that voted for this definition were doing so out of a knee jerk reaction and less out of a mindset of what is the right thing to do or does this comply with the law of the land.

quizwedge said...

Glen... I would. Basically, while the people of California created a standard law that can be deemed unconstitutional (the result is the same as the legislature, just a different process), I see that the court went against the will of the people.

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Glen said...

What's wrong with going against the Will of the People when the People are wrong?!

Sean said...

I agree with glen here. What if the people decided to kill everyone over 65 because they are of no functional use. The court overturning that ‘law’ would be the right thing to do. The point is that the people need a check as well. The mob mentality doesn't make things right.

quizwedge said...

I agree that the court was within its power to strike down a law. It just rubs me the wrong way since ultimately in our system, the government is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around. Yes, this could lead to some bad laws by letting the people decide, but then again, having the people serve the government can lead to bad laws as well.

Nomad said...

This is the whole point of our being a Republic and not a Democracy. A Republic is intended to elect people of high intelligence and wisdom to office to represent the people, but also to temper their passions. A direct democracy allows for mob passions to rule the day always. A Republic has the elected or appointed officials acting as a check on mob rule. This is why Republics are usually much slower to act than monarchies, dictatorships, or direct democracies. The checks and balances take time for a passionate P.O.V. to get what they want.

You can think that this system is wrong. But this exact example is the system working exactly the way it is supposed to.