LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rethink position on Prop 8
I must respond to Debra J. Saunders’ editorial, “Arnold and Jerry take a legal holiday.” Ms. Saunders objects that our governor and our attorney general refuse to oppose the ruling of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
I encourage Ms. Saunders to read Judge Walker’s ruling on this issue (summary, and complete text of which, can be found at http://prop8trialtracker.com/2010/08/04/
For example, Ms. Saunders mentions that “52 percent of the voters passed Proposition 8.” In his decision, Judge Walker notes that marriage is a “fundamental right” and states, “That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant as fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” He bases this statement on a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court case.
Judge Walker also states, “When the State takes away a fundamental right, it must have a compelling reason to do so.”
The defendants in this case were able to offer no compelling reasons to remove the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Their argument for “maintaining the traditional notion of marriage” was rejected by Judge Walker, citing a 1970 U.S. Supreme Court case in stating, “Tradition, alone, cannot form a rational basis for a law.”
Judge Walker similarly rejected arguments that opposite-sex couples are better parents or that the state should promote procreation within an opposite-sex marriage. He also rejected the notion that the state has suffered any demonstrated harm by having issued marriage licenses to 18,000 same sex couples or that the rights of those opposing this have been violated. Judge Walker further declared that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. I thank our state leadership for supporting Judge Walker’s decision in this case.
South Lake Tahoe
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