Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Comment on California

Relying on Andrew Sullivan for much current commentary on this debate.

This item
links to comments about supposed judicial hast (over reach?) in the Court's ruling but notes just how out of step California was 60 years ago in ruling racially mixed marriages could not be outlawed (even when they then were by all states up to that point and a ruling by the US Supreme Court was around 20 years into the future).

The key to California's decision in both 1948 and 2008 was to look more closely at an issue that had often before been rejected out of hand. In 1948 the court said that yes "separate but equal" was the law but looked at from the point of view of the individual there was no equal substitute for one's chosen marital partner. In 2008 they said yes the "right to marry" had been stated before with the idea of a marriage being the union of a man and a woman, but if one looked at the reasons for why marriage was a fundamental right it was clear that they would apply equally to unions of the same sex. In both cases it was the careful examination that led to what I believe was the correct decision on the law. Even if you believe one or both cases were incorrectly decided, though, when it comes down to fundamental rights and minorities that have not always been treated justly, it is no virtue for a court to ignore the issue in deference to the wishes of a majority. They should strive instead strive in good faith to apply the constitution regardless of the popularity of the decision. Those that disagree should argue on against the reasoning used and the legal principles applied and not rely on overstated cries of judicial activism.

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