Friday, December 19, 2008

Attorney General Sides with Marriage Equality

Jerry Brown's Brief Argues Prop 8 Is Invalid

The brief in the Proposition 8 litigation filed by Jerry Brown, the state's Attorney General, agrees with the petitioners challenging Prop 8 that the measure is a more profound revision to the Constitution, not a minor amendment, and therefore unconstitutional because it cannot be adopted through the initiative process that was used. While this does not guarantee that a majority of the California Supreme Court Justices will agree, it is a big development in the case and likely to weigh heavily in the Justices' minds.

UPDATE: Actually, the Attorney General's argument is that, although the challengers have not to his mind shown that Prop 8 counts as a revision, Prop 8 is nonetheless invalid because it attempts to eliminate fundamental rights without a compelling justification, which in his view is not a power encompassed by the initiative-amendment power. So, although he doesn't agree with the revision argument, Jerry Brown agrees with the challengers that Prop 8 is not within the initiative power. Interesting nuance, perhaps offering one or more Justices a third path, one that doesn't accept the revision argument but that nonetheless holds Prop 8 to be invalid.

Prop 8 Defenders Bring Out Big Gun

Kenneth Starr to represent Proposition 8's official proponents

Today, December 19, is the deadline for the briefs of the defenders of the validity of Proposition 8 to be filed in the California Supreme Court. - Yes on 8 has announced in a press release that Pepperdine Dean Kenneth W. Starr (remember him from his stint as Special Prosecutor in Whitewater/Monica Lewinsky affair?) will be representing the official ballot proponents in the state supreme court both defending Prop 8's validity (no surprise on that ground) and arguing that Prop 8 also doesn't allow California to continue to treat the same-sex couples married before the election as married (also no surprise, given statements on the Yes on 8 web site, even though the official ballot title and language were not nearly so clear about this kind of retroactive effect).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The United Straights of America?

Obama Inauguration & UN Declaration

In a double symbolic blow to sexual orientation equality in the U.S. today, it was announced that the invocation at the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama will be given by Rev. Rick Warren, and the U.S. refused to vote in support of a United Nations declaration introduced in the General Assembly by France. Warren, the leader of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, actively campaigned for Proposition 8 to strip same-sex couples of their fundamental right to marry under the California Constitution. France's nonbinding declaration, supported by 66 countries, affirmed that international human rights protections extend to all persons "regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity." Score -1 for the outgoing administration and -1 for the incoming administration.