Supreme court to reconsider Prop 8

March 27, 2009 — by Maggie Lin and Ketaki Shriram

Last November California voters voted in favor of Proposition 8, which reversed a previous state ruling that gay marriage was legal. It was a shocking blow to supporters of gay rights and equality. The decision made by voters in California to restore and continue marriage discrimination in what has always been considered an open-minded state is shocking.

Most dissent arises from the Christian right wing. They adhere to the idea that the Bible states that marriage is between a man and a woman, making gay marriage against their beliefs. Because of this message, many devout Christians view gay marriage as a ticket to hell and therefore voted against it.

Thankfully, however, proponents of gay rights have now brought the case to the California Supreme Court, on the grounds that the proposition changed the state constitution so drastically that a legislative body must approve it. According to the New York Times, if the court determines that the state Constitution was indeed revised by this proposition, then Proposition 8 might be reversed.

Should the court choose to rule that the proposition was not a revision, however, then the unfair and right-limiting words of Proposition 8 will stand. Supporters of Proposition 8 argue that if the measure is recalled, it is unfair to the voice of Californians who voted for the proposition in November. The problem with such an argument, however, is that Proposition 8 is not an ordinary measure: It seeks to remove and restrict the marriage rights of Californians based on their sexual orientation, something that isn’t fair and undermines the freedom of expression that has typically been associated with California.

The overturning of Proposition 8 would also affect other areas of the country. States including Florida and Arizona have similar restrictive measures regarding gay rights and marriage. If California is able to take the first step in giving everyone equal rights, than other states might soon be compelled to follow the example. In this way, the decision of the California Supreme Court might not only liberate people within the state, but could also begin the change required to provide every man and woman in America with the equal right to marriage.

Some argue that California is not ready for equal rights. Californians voted against gay marriages in 2000. Following that, however, there have been two more bills passed to legalize gay marriage in 2005 and 2007, respectively. This shift in votes shows that California is indeed ready to allow equal rights for all. The entertainment industry has also been a reflection of this, with the film “Milk” winning Oscars in February. These changes are indications that Proposition 8 will soon be unfavorable to many Californians.

The court has 90 days before it must decide the outcome of the battle over Prop 8. And if they choose to let the measure stand, gay rights activists will continue to fight, as did those in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the Women’s Rights movements of the 1970s—and they will continue until the battle is won.

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