Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prop 8 Court Appeal Update

As of today, there are now six petitions filed with the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8. In addition to the three filings I wrote about yesterday, there are now three more. The basic argument, that allowing Prop 8 to stand as an initiative amendment enacted by a bare majority of voters is a horrible precedent, is the same in all the petitions. But some compelling perspectives are added. One is a joint filing by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the NAACP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), voicing their concern that if a bare majority of voters can revoke a fundamental right, California voters could enact laws to revive racial covenants in real estate, prevent Asian-Americans from owning land (as had been law nearly 100 years ago), or revive laws preventing mixed-race marriages. (As a sign at a recent protest said, "You may not be gay, but you may be next.") Another is a joint filing by the California Council of Churches, the Universal Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Episcopal Bishops of Los Angeles and California, who argue along similar lines that this precedent could allow voters to infringe on fundamental rights of religious liberty, especially of minority denominations. This is compelling stuff.

On the other side, there are five parties opposing these petitions. A few of them make respectable arguments on the core revision vs. amendment issue, pointing to the precedents they view as most analogous, and pressing the "voice of the people" argument, but ignoring rather than addressing the equal protection arguments. A fourth party, the Pacific Justice Institute, offers only weak arguments around the margins (like an argument that the Cities of LA and San Francisco lack standing to file a petition). A fifth party, one D.Q. Marriette Do-Nguyen, claims to be speaking on behalf of the Almighty Eternal Creator, as His Heiress. For the edification of the Supreme Court Justices, she reveals the message of the Almighty Eternal Creator, as revealed to her in a dream last week, concerning not only Prop 8 and abortion, but also the Iraq War, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, and other gems of received wisdom. I kid you not. (As one friend commented, something about opposing same-sex marriage really brings the nutcases out of the woodwork.) The arguments of the Almighty notwithstanding, I'm hopeful that the Court will find the petitions as stirring and compelling as I do.

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