This arrived in our inbox over the weekend. The nation's leading civil rights groups for minorities—including the California NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund—rejoined the fight for marriage equality in California. The groups petitioned the California Supreme Court to stop the enactment of Proposition 8 "because it would mandate discrimination against a minority group."
In the petition, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Society, California NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. argue that in order to protect the fundamental rights of all Californians, a higher standard is required to overturn the right to marry. Minority communities cannot be stripped of their fundamental rights by a simple majority vote.
The California Constitution requires that any measure attempting to revise the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature before being submitted to the voters. Proposition 8 was not approved through that constitutionally required process.
"We cannot become a society that picks and chooses who is entitled to equal rights," said Alice A. Huffman, president of the California State NAACP. "We should include all people from all walks of life in the entitlement to all freedoms now enjoyed by the majority of our population As a civil rights advocate, we will continue the fight of eliminating roadblocks to freedom."
Two things worth noting. The first, of course, is that black, and to a smaller extent Latino, voters have been unfairly blamed for the passage of Proposition 8, so MALDEF and the NAACP's lawsuit throws cold water on those who want to continue to race-bait (Hello Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan!). Secondly, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are rejoining the fight for marriage equality in California. As has been reported on this blog several times, both groups were part of the original lawsuit that brought same sex marriage to California. After the tension of the past two weeks, it's great to see gay rights groups and civil rights groups working together to make sure all Americans are treated fairly.