Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa Puts Pressure on California Supreme Court

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and lead counsel for same-sex couples and Equality California in Strauss v. Horton, the challenge to Proposition 8 currently pending before the California Supreme Court, wrote a guest post on Bilerico Project about the implications of the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage for California's own high court.


. . .the Iowa court repeatedly underscored that equal protection is one of the "basic principles essential to our form of government," part of our very "blueprint for government," essential to the continued existence of "our republican form of government and our freedoms," and the foundation of "the rule of law." That is the centerpiece of our argument in the Prop 8 case. What is at stake in the Prop 8 case is not just marriage for same-sex couples, but the foundational principle that all people are entitled to equal protection of the laws.

Today's decision from Iowa strongly reinforces that the California Supreme Court must not permit a simple majority of voters to jettison that defining hallmark of our government by eliminating a right only for an unpopular minority. . .

Especially in light of today's decision, it would tarnish the California Supreme Court's credibility and stature for the court to back away from its prior decision and pretend that Proposition 8 does not relegate same-sex couples and their children to a second-class status. Proposition 8 installs an invidious inequality in the heart of the California Constitution. There is no principled way for the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 without compromising its prior decision in the Marriage Cases and causing grievous and unjust harm to an entire class of California families.

This is a defining moment for our state and for the California Supreme Court. The Court's decision in the Prop 8 challenge will either reaffirm the centrality of equality in our constitutional system, or it will hold, for the first time in our state's history, that a simple majority can amend the constitution to impose inequality on an unpopular minority.

Read the amazing full post at Bilerico Project.

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