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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Gearing up for gay marriage in the Golden State

Wedding frenzy is already hitting California after the state's Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage, making California the second US state to marry same-sex couples. But this may not be where the story ends.

Three weeks of today, at 8 a.m., couples will be able to pay $155 for a marriage licence. But officials are, according to the Ventura County Star, now fretting over "whether people just married should be pronounced as spouses instead of husband and wife".

The paper says gay couples are now making frenzied calls to florists and caterers. Actually, given that gay people must on average know five florists, twenty hairdressers and several caterers, not to mention people to provide the entertainment, planning a gay wedding should be a cinch.

Well, the betrothed same-sex couples of California may have to get in early, because on 4 November state citizens will be able to go to the ballot box to vote on a constitutional amendment that seeks to define marriage as only of the straight variety. What would happen to those already married, who knows? But, if same-sex unions are simply not recognised, they would, we assume, simply cease to have any legal meaning. What the state giveth, the state taketh away.

As you would expect, nutty Catholics and some evangelicals are opposed to the new law. The paper says:

The Rev. Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks wants more than approval of another ban. He's part of a grass-roots citizens group that is working to oust the four state Supreme Court justices who ruled for gay marriage, overturning a ban overwhelmingly approved at the polls eight years ago.

McCoy said the judges willfully ignored the will of the people in a ruling that he thinks should alarm more than faith groups and conservatives.

But judges are appointed and/or elected (appointed would be better, of course, if you wish to avoid the tyranny of the masses) because of their expertise of jurisprudence (in theory, at least) and their wisdom in deciding on how people should be treated by the law – and the consequences of one law can well impact on how they decide on another.

I highly recommend this post on the Gatheist Agenda blog, which we link to on the sidebar. Among other convincing arguments, it says this of judges:

It is not the job of the judicial branch to uphold the wishes of the majority. There is a very good reason why very few states and virtually no civilised nations elect judges and that is because it would open them to the same pressures as politicians face. Judges are deliberately insulated from the political process to ensure that they don’t have to follow “the will of the people”. The judges were asked to rule on whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriage conflicted with the state constitution’s ban on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. They decided it did.

So now you know. We'll see what happens on 14 November.

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