An excellent editorial in The New York Times laser-focuses on the central challenge to the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same sex marriage. The editorial questions the initiative process to "obliterate an existing right for a targeted minority."
The case turns on whether Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment, requiring only approval by a bare majority of voters, or a more far-reaching constitutional revision, requiring a two-step process: either a constitutional convention or a two-thirds vote of the State Legislature followed by voter ratification. The court, which has struck down several measures before, should not lightly overturn the will of the people. But it has not confronted a revision this far-reaching in terms of upsetting basic rights and the state’s constitutional structure.
The court has correctly determined that the equal protection clause prohibits governmental discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which extends the right of marriage to same-sex couples. But the issue goes well beyond gay rights. Allowing Proposition 8 to stand would greatly limit the court’s ability to uphold the basic rights of all Californians and preclude the Legislature from performing its constitutional duty to weigh such monumental changes before they go to voters.
Almost anytime the rights of a minority are put to a popular vote, they will lose. Prop 8 is a dangerous precedent that demonstrates this all-too-well. That's probably why the nation's leading civil rights groups—including the California NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund—rejoined the marriage equality fight and are suing Prop 8.
Did You Read ...
NAACP Rejoins CA Marriage Fight, Suit Against 8 [R20]
CA Speaker Bass: No on 8 "Bypassed Black LGBT Leadership" [R20]
Dan Savage Pulls Racist Column Before Appearance on "Colbert" [R20]
Not One Black Gay/Lesbian Couple in "No on Prop 8" Ads. Why? [R20]
N-Word Hurled at Blacks During Prop 8 Protest[R20]
OMG The Gays Are Trying To Get Gangsta With It [Cannick]
N-Bomb Is Dropped on Black Passerby [PHB]
Stop Scapegoating Black Folk on Prop 8 [JJP]
WeHo Marriage Rally Attracts "Noah's Arc" Stars [R20]
"Yes We Can" to "YES on 8": Blacks Overwhelmingly Approve Prop 8 [R20]
Anti-Gay, Black Pastors Use Children for Prop 8 [R20]
Blige, Etheridge Raise $3.9M for No on Prop 8 [R20]
"Noah's Arc" Cast Urges "No" on Proposition 8 [R20]
"Noah's Arc" Actor Doug Spearman, Black Ministers Urge "NO" on Prop 8 [R20]
SCLC Leader Criticizes Anti-Gay, Black Pastors [R20]