California is a state that has consistently been distinguished by an independent, progressive spirit. It is no coincidence that the "Golden State" is a place where issues such as environmental conservation, medical marijuana, and the rights of gays and lesbians are openly debated. Such issues may be controversial, but in California at least, the public is willing to discuss them and potentially arrive at solutions.
In a landmark decision the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on February 7, 2012, that Proposition 8, which amended California's constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, served no legitimate purpose and violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In its opinion, the court in Perry v. Brown recognized that communities certainly have the right to enact rules and regulations they believe necessary and desirable, subject, however, to the requirement that there must be a legitimate reason "for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently." Simply put, this reviewing court found no such legitimate purpose here.
The recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on the validity of Proposition 8 is a dangerous ruling for all minorities. The Court has handed the mob a loaded weapon that can too easily be used to pursue inappropriate discriminatory goals and agendas. The ruling undermines the judiciary's authority to protect minority rights and it substantially alters the California Constitution as a document of independent force and effect.
The California Supreme Court heard oral argument earlier this month on the validity of Proposition 8, a measure banning same-sex marriage that California voters approved in November 2008. The televised closely watched session had people nationwide mass text-messaging on Twitter as if calling a sporting event giving moment by moment real-time updates and often colorful impressions on the Supreme Court hearing. The Supreme Court decision will be historic and have implications for decades to come determining the fate of same-sex marriage in the State as well as the validity of an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed in California.
The gay marriage controversy in California continues this week. The California state Senate approved a resolution Monday calling Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage an improper revision of the Constitution because it failed to carry the approval of the state Legislature. The Senate essentially declared that the initiative was a fundamental revision to the California Constitution as opposed to merely an amendment. A revision of the state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of both houses to put it on the ballot.
A Federal Court has ruled that a same-sex couple in California is entitled to have the Louisiana birth certificate of their adopted son changed to reflect the two of them as the boy's parents. The question was one of Louisiana being required to recognize the decision of the New York court that oversaw the adoption of the boy by the two men. The Louisiana Office of Vital Statistics had refused to issue a birth certificate showing both men as the boy's adoptive parents. The Federal Court ruled that the facts were so clear there wasn't even any need for a trial: Louisiana must recognize New York's laws in this regard under the Full Faith and Credit provisions of the U.S. Constitution, which (essentially) mandates that each state must give full faith and credit to (i.e., must recognize) the laws of the other states.