Saturday, May 17, 2008

Opinion: Is this good public policy and/or is it the correct decision by the court?

California's top court legalizes gay marriage

By LISA LEFFThe Associated Press Friday, May 16, 2008; 2:45 AM
SAN FRANCISCO -- California's Supreme Court declared that gay couples in the nation's most populous state can marry _ a monumental but perhaps short-lived victory for the gay rights movement Thursday that was greeted with tears, hugs, kisses and at least one instant proposal of matrimony.

Same-sex couples could tie the knot in as little as a month. But the window could close soon after _ religious and social conservatives are pressing to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would undo the Supreme Court ruling and ban gay marriage.

"Essentially, this boils down to love. We love each other. We now have equal rights under the law," declared a jubilant Robin Tyler, a plaintiff in the case along with her partner. She added: "We're going to get married. No Tupperware, please."

A crowd of people raised their fists in triumph inside City Hall, and people wrapped themselves in the rainbow-colored gay-pride flag outside the courthouse. In the Castro, long the center of the gay community in San Francisco, Tim Oviatt wept as he watched the news on TV.

"I've been waiting for this all my life. This is a life-affirming moment," he said.

By the afternoon, gay and lesbian couples had already started lining up at San Francisco City Hall to make appointments to get marriage licenses. In West Hollywood, supporters planned to serve "wedding cake" at an evening celebration.

James Dobson _ chairman of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, which has spent thousands of dollars to get the measure on the ballot _ called the ruling an outrage.
"It will be up to the people of California to preserve traditional marriage by passing a constitutional amendment. ... Only then can they protect themselves from this latest example of judicial tyranny," he said in an e-mailed statement.

In its 4-3 ruling, the Republican-dominated high court struck down state laws against same-sex marriage and said domestic partnerships that provide many of the rights and benefits of matrimony are not enough.

"In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority in ringing language that delighted gay rights activists.

Massachusetts in 2004 became the first, and so far only, state to legalize gay marriage; more than 9,500 couples have taken advantage of the law. But the California ruling is considered monumental by virtue of the state's size _ 38 million out of a U.S. population of 302 million _ and its historical role as the vanguard of many social and cultural changes that have swept the country since World War II.

California has an estimated 108,734 same-sex households, according to 2006 census figures.

THIS ARTICLE CONTINUES AT:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/15/AR2008051502290_2.html

38 comments:

Vlad said...
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tomj said...

Well this to me isn't exactly the greatest thing that has ever happened. I'm not exactly a pro-gay rights person, nor am I a person who is about to completely shoot down a persons having a life partner. I can't say that I have a opinion on this because in one way I'm like,"Congratulations you finally achieved what you wanted.", but on the other hand I don't want this. I personally don't believe there should be gay marriage, but i don't believe people should only be able to be a straight person to not be discriminated against.

RyanO said...

I believe it is a good policy. I think many of the arguments against it are erroneous to the United States Government, even though many people don't seem to think so. Bringing religion into the picture is ridiculous, as gay marriage does not inhibit religion. If the court had ruled the other way, it would expand religion, through applying religion to marriage. As far as I know, the standing national policy is the Defense of Marriage Act, which can and should be struck down by the supreme court, not only on the basis of expanding religion, but also on the government attempting to restrict the states' rights to determine their own policy on the issue, which has not been applied to states by the Supreme Court as far as I know.

MorganJ said...

I have two different opionions on this issue. The first it that I think it is a great public policy. I've been for gay rights since I can remember. I know many gay people who are upset that they can't get married. It frustrates me to see two people very much in love (more so than many heterosexual couples I know) and who have been with each other for 11 years,yet cannot formally announce their love.

My other opinion is very knit-picky. I'm not sure if I am for gay "marriage." I can see the apprehension some straight people have for heterosexual couples being married. Therefore, in order to pass gay marriage in other state, I think we should have another word for "marriage." Because this would be something different from tradition, I think it deserves a different name--something all its own.

All in all, I'm very glad Cali's SC made this decisions. Like the article said, Cali is a trend-setting state. So its possible that in time, this movement will sweep the nation.

PS. I agree with Vlad that our generation, the majority at least, is very accepting of gay rights. and I agree with Ryan that the SC is expanding religion.

Oh wow I just has another though on this issue(Sorry I'm writing so much. There's just so much to say). This morning I read one of my friend's notes on facebook. She was recalling everything she has learned and how she has grown as a person. One of the things she mentioned was, "Some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met in my life are gay. I find it very unlikely that God doesn't love someone so kind-hearted just because of their sexual orientation. It's impossible." This I think needs to be shared with all people that feel religion does not accept gay people.

KellyH said...

I think it's good public policy and the correct decision by the court. I think all people should be able to obtain the same rights: life, liberty and happiness, and nowhere in the constitution does it define what marriage is (or isn't). Also, nowhere does it say that homosexuals are the exception to the Due Process clause. That would just be doofy. And I'm going to agree with Vlad and say that those people are goons, and unfortunately there are a lot of them out there. And nice use of goon by the way.

P.S. Morgan, I like some of what that person said, I really did... but there was also this statement: "Not everyone is school smart, and to those of you who are...congradulations! You can memorize pointless facts! I don't care that you scored above a 30 on your ACT, that you're taking all AP classes, or that you have a 4.3 GPA. You all lack social skills and common sense. I can't wait for you to enter the real world, life is going to give you quite a shock. No offense to anyone."

Johnny B said...

This country is not perfect. Just look back when an African-American was counted as 3/5ths of a person. Look how far their rights have come.

I believe in gay marriage and believe that this is a step towards recognizing a right that is deserved.

I'm also not too fond of how great marriage is perceived. Look at the divorce rates. Marriage, in my opinion, isn't what it used to be.

JamieW said...

I do not believe in gay marriage . I do, however, believe in civil unions. I believe homosexual people should have the same rights as heterosexuals; however, I personally believe that the term "marriage" relates to the unity of a man and a woman. I think the policy is headed in the right direction but I personally do not believe in it.

CoreyA said...

Blah. Pure and simple Blah. I am torn. I am a man of principle and reason, and this goes against my principles. But my reasoning and logic say that this is completely irrelevant and that stoping something like this is a really big waste of time. The term "marriage" in our society means so little any more with our over 50% divorce rate. Hey, if we're lucky, these people will have fought so hard for this right to marriage that they will never divorce, thus making our divorce rate go down.

Maybe I just don't see the reasoning behind marriage to care enough... People make such a big deal about it and time and time agian we see people grow old and get sick of who they are with. And then divorce. Oh joy.

For the record: I don't support sodomy. Maybe these people will get married and just hold hands...

For now, I don't care.

arletap said...

I think this was a phenomenal move on California's part. It doesn't even matter if it's overturned -- a state of that size making a decision of that caliber? States will be talking, and maybe, just maybe, follow suit. Slow and steady wins the race.

p.s. Jamie - The concept of heterosexual marriage and homosexual civil unions is great. Separate but equal has clearly worked in the past.

arletap said...

Corey,
I hope you follow suit and have a fantastic hand-holding honeymoon when one day you find that special someone.
Sincerely,
Arleta

Alex D said...

Dictionary.com says....

1. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.

As Dictionary.com states Marriage is between a man and a women, not a man and a man or a women and a women. It is a religious term and not something to be touched upon by the government.

Don't get me wrong...
I do not disagree with Civil Unions for homosexuals but i do not believe that the term marriage should be used. Pretty much, Jamie's post summed up my feelings on this almost perfectly.

Civil Unions and Marriage is not the same the separate but equal policy of the past, come on.

Erica C said...

This is good public policy and the correct decision by the court. As Kelly said, the constitution does not define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Marriage limited to the union of a man and a woman is a religious standard. Adopting this view of marriage is an obvious violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment.

I (respectfully) disagree with Morgan and Jamie. I believe the union between a gay couple should be called marriage. To not would be dehumanizing and offensive. Consider that marriage was once a method of family advancement and rarely between a man and a woman who loved each other. So with that thinking, very few marriages are "traditional" anymore--marriage has already evolved in many ways. Beyond that detail, if gay couples are given all the same rights and benefits that would come with a heterosexual marriage, it should be called marriage. If it looks like a duck...

Sidenote: I believe that it is fear that has kept things such as the Defense of Marriage Act in existence. I believe that at the center of many anti-gay rights arguments is the fear that marriage in the U.S. will lose it's meaning. Unfortunately there are few easy solutions to fear.

amandak said...

I think that states disallowing gay marriage is something that our kids and grandkids will look on with shock someday. When we hear about things like Brown v. Board and the 19th amendment, we wonder how it could have taken so long to fix such injustices, and how the Supreme Court allowed it. I see no constitutional basis for the banning of gay marriage, but I see plenty of clauses in the 14th amendment that demand it be allowed.

I'm also disgusted by the fact that a heterosexual couple that has known each other for three hours can get married without a problem but a homosexual couple that has been together for years and are committed to each other can't get married. Where is the "defense of marriage" there? In my opinion, marriage is love, however it comes.

So in short, yes, this is an excellent decision. As Leta said, a state the size of California making this decision could have a big impact. I hope other states follow suit.

mente said...

I believe this is fantastic public policy. I hold a firm belief that a couple, heterosexual or homosexual, should be able to recognize their love with a marriage. Civil unions are not good enough.

I have a lot of other opinions on this subject, but most of them have already been stated and I do not wish to restate. Basically, thumbs up to California.

Arleta, you are a fantastic human being.

CassieH said...

I think this is great.

I agree with Vlad, eventually I think this issue will not be an issue at all. Generation after generation it is generally more and more accpeted and eventually it will become no issue.

katiekso said...

I support same sex marriage and therefor I beleive it is good public policy. I think it has been outrageous that gay couples couldn't marry.

Angelina said...

I think it is good policy as well. People should have the right to marry the same sex, if they are in love, they are in love. No one should have the power to stop their love. If people don't like calling it marriage then call it a civil union, or something else.

joannaz said...

This was by far and away the best decision the court could make. Although the policy may be short lived come November, it is a huge step forwards in our country. The fact that such a populous state as California is allowing gay marriage is monumental. More gay people will get married and people will be forced to deal with the fact that gay couples are not vulgar, or against nature, but are two human beings who share a deep and intimate bond together. To deny them of expressing that bond through an institution that is based in love, care, and committment would not only be wrong, but cruel. The California Supreme Court undoubtedly made the right decision, and, hopefully, it will lead to similar decisions in the future.

aly mac said...

Personally, I really do not feel very strongly about this issue. If they're happy and love each other, I guess they were meant to be together. As long as the marriage isn't taking place in a church, where tradition should be maintained, I don’t have a problem with it. There are so many more important battles our country needs to fight that I think its time our country just dealt with this and moved on. Getting to the question, I have to say that this was not good public policy. It seemed a little rash and not as well thought through as it could have been. It was a step in some direction to resolving this issue, but I don’t think that it will have as lasting of an impact as some may hope for.

katiekso said...

Manda yelled at me for not writting more so I guess I'll say more. First off, the bible and the constitution are not the same thing so I don't know why it has taken so long to at least legalize gay marriage in certain states. Just because you are gay doesn't mean you forfit rights at an american citizen. Therefor, I think this is great public policy that should have been implemented a long time ago. If two people love each other that should be the only requirement of marriage. i don't see why there should be any doubts about it.

Christina S said...

I think this is great public policy, good choice California. I beleive that any couple should be allowed to be married. seperation of church and state, anyone?
kelly: nice word choice, doofy?

shannond said...

I think it's about time that our country is starting to make decisions about same sex marriages that are based on constitutional rights and not tradition and religion. I think this is good public policy and the court did make a good decision. I'm also glad that the Supreme Court of California stepped up and tackled this issue because I believe they will set a good example for states to follow (not that Massachusetts didn't, California is just much larger.) It's great for the citizens of California beecuase they do have such a large gay population. I definitely think this is a giant leap in the right direction.

KellyH said...

Doofus = a noun. You could say, "he's a doofus".

Doofy = an adjective. You could say, "he's doofy". Or "That's a doofy idea".

Hopefully that clears it up.
And I'm glad you like my words enough to use them in class.
Personally, I'm a little sick of creeper after AP English, so I'm sticking with creepo.

That is all.

Johnny B said...

Clinton's "victory" speech:

She said something like, "And thanks for helping pick the democratic nominee whoever she may be."

Did I hear her right? I'm starting to think a few screws have gone loose inside of her.......

Alex D said...

I was reading a news article and it seemed California already had a rather progressive law that allows for homosexual couple to have all the same rights as a straight couple, just without the term marriage.

Wouldn't one be ok to have all the same rights except not the religious term marriage?

aly mac said...

I'm actually leaving for the weekend, so I thought I'd blog really quick. I found Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's response to this very interesting. US News reported him saying that, "I respect the court's decision, and as governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the Constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling." This is a very interesting comment coming from a governor who twice vetoed legislation that would have legalized marriage in his state. I think he is a surprising ally for same-sex marriage supporters

JamieW said...

My problem with this is that people who want to have a separated church and state (completely understandable) want the right to be able to partake in a religious sacrament. I don't care the spin people put on what the definition of marriage is or is not. At the end of the day, marriage is still a religious thing. I personally believe that homosexual individuals who wish to get partnered and yet want to be considered married are just trying to get the best of both worlds here. Civil unions are the exact same thing as a marriage...the only difference is the terminology. They are fighting for a relgious title of their partnership, that's all. What is so wrong with having all the same rights without it being called marriage? That's what they want isn't it, the same rights. We aren't talking about people having the right to share their love with one another here, we're talking about the legal aspects of this- which would be the exact same if civil unions were implemented. I'd also like to add that I'm shocked by the sarcasm and lack of maturity. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, i think we're all old enough to respect eachother's views.

MorganJ said...

First, Kelly, I did read that part of the note and I laughed because that's a pretty big generalization... that I for one do not fit in. lol ;-)

Second, I want to make it clear that I don't really care whether or not same sex couple have the title "marriage" or "civil union." It makes no difference to me. But I do think that if government officials are willing to approve "civil unions" we should take it!

Isn't 100% of something better than 0% or nothing???

Corey, I really liked your comment on having this called a "marriage" in order to decrease our devorce rate. It made me smile!

I also feel that this is a touchy subject and after reading the entire blog, I can see what Jamie is talking about... some mud has been slung and possibly some nerves touched. So lets all take it easy. :-)

This IS a termanology issue (the blog I mean). And I think if we can get the same rights for homosexual couples we should take it. Our country functions sooooo slowly (for good reason), if we can get the same rights for people now, we can spend the next 20 years or however long it takes to agree upon a term.

CassieH said...

Whhheeennnn doo weee ehhahvveee tooo blooggg

Johnny B said...

I'm pretty mad I forgot to post yesterday. Yesterday I was having a family party for my going away in July and forgot to post. I hope this extended weekend still counts Mr. Bretzmann.

Anyways. I believe that it is a good decision. I believe that gay couples deserve the same benefits as other sex couples do. Didn't it used to be a little while ago that interracial couples didn't have the same rights? Well, I believe that it is only time until gay rights should be recognized as well.

In my opinion, it is the correct decision.

JamieW said...

Interracial marriages had the same rights, they were just frowned upon.

Vlad said...

Sorry Jamie.

JamieW said...

okay my computer posted only a sentence of my entry. that's cool.

mente said...

Just wanted to post something to ease the worries of anyone that forgot to blog yesturday, as I did. I just looked on infinite campus and apparently this blogging period is from 5/19-6/1.

BrookeS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrookeS said...

I tried to post this earlier but.....

I was fortunate enough to go to the McCain rally today at Martin Luther H.S with Alex, Tom, and Terri. Lucky for us, Terri and I sat right behind Senator McCain, (only two rows back!) It was a really great experience. Seeing how much political interest there is among so many different age groups and backgrounds was fantastic! Simply being in the action and having the chance to see McCain speak in person verses behind a TV screen was really exciting; it really made me have even more confidence in this candidate. Terri and I both got the chance to shake McCain's hand and we took a picture with Congressman Paul Ryan, (aka: future vice-pres runningmate according to a very devoted McCain supporter at the rally!) All in all, it was a great experience.

Soooo, if anyone happens to catch the news tonight or tomorrow morning, look just behind McCain speaking and you'll see Terri and I sitting there.

P.S: I'll be sure to bring in pictures tomorrow!

JamieW said...

I haven't found any evidence of this on the internet thus far, but I heard that Paul Ryan was not going to accept a VP position at this time. Did anyone else hear anything like that?

KellyH said...

I think that a lot of people in gov read the newspaper (at least I hope) but in case you missed it, there's an article on the front page of the Waukesha section of today's paper all about McCain and also our very own Morgan Johnson. It's actually pretty cool.

I talked to Morgan about this, and he didn't include all of her first impression and just put in the part about him being pale, and I thought the paragraph after that about how Obama is the blackest candidate and McCain is the whitest was a little wierd. And I'm actually going to call it stupid. But actually it's not a bad article.

A little public participation on Morgan's part.

I'm going to go watch Forrest Gump.