Did you hear the news? Out there on the “Left Coast,” a bunch of activist judges decided to legislate from the bench, ignoring the will of the people by granting homosexuals the right to marry.
That’s the Golden State for you, familiar with looking strange to the rest of the country.
In 1948, California was the first state to strike down a statute prohibiting intermarriage involving white people (Perez v. Sharpe). The court disagreed with those who claimed the law was necessary to keep “the Caucasian race from being contaminated by races whose members are by nature physically and mentally inferior to Caucasians.”
I don’t see anyone lining up to dispute the California court’s wisdom here – are you aware it took 19 years for federal law to follow suit?
So maybe California’s recent trail-blazing deserves closer scrutiny.
“Activist judges legislating from the bench”? Nothing more than a phrase employed when the right doesn’t like the result of a legal decision; Scalia and Thomas overturn acts of Congress and they’re just “doing their job.”
Furthermore, three of the four in the majority opinion were appointed by Republicans, and this same court nullified thousands of marriages performed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004.
“Ignoring the will of the people”? When California’s Proposition 22 passed back in 2000, a majority voted for a change in family law code specifying that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Yet California voters increasingly show a change of heart. By 2005, the 60 percent in favor of the proposition eroded to half, and most polls now show a majority disapprove of such clarifying language.
For those who view homosexuality as a choice, a mortal sin and an inferior lifestyle that contaminates our society – well, no amount of argument will sway you toward acceptance.
Yet for others, California Supreme Court decision S147999 might make for some interesting summer reading.
Within its pages, the neither activist nor impulsive California court determines that existing rights accorded gay couples aren’t enough, that only through marriage can they enjoy equal respect and protection under the state constitution.
If that feels like overkill to you, if it feels “too soon,” I only ask this: Is second-class status good enough for your relationship?
Andrea Sarvady (ASarvad@gmail.com) is a writer and educator specializing in counseling and a married mother of three.