Wednesday, May 27, 2009


After yesterday's ruling from the California Supreme Court on Proposition 8, it seems we can get marrid in California, but we can't get married. At least according to Seneca Doane at the Daily Kos:

In last year's landmark 4-3 decision, In re Marriage Cases, the California Supreme Court decided that same-sex couples have a fundamental right under state law to every single advantage that heterosexual couples do, including the right to call their legal union "marriage."

Today, the court unanimously upheld the substantive fundamental right. Liberal to conservative, they all now accept it. They construed Prop 8 as narrowly as possible: as a initiative that addressed what we would label these relationships that we normally call marriage. The voters said that we can't call these relationships "marriage" when they involve same-sex couples. That's an insult to gays and lesbians and I hope and believe that it will not last.

Here's an excerpt from the ruling (p. 36-37):

Applying similar reasoning in the present context, we properly must view the adoption of Proposition 8 as carving out an exception to the preexisting scope of the privacy and due process clauses of the California Constitution as interpreted by the majority opinion in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757. The scope of the exception created by Proposition 8, however, necessarily is determined and limited by the specific language and scope of the new constitutional provision added by the ballot measure. Here the new constitutional provision (art. I, § 7.5) provides in full: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." By its terms, the new provision refers only to "marriage" and does not address the right to establish an officially recognized family relationship, which may bear a name or designation other than "marriage." Accordingly, although the wording of the new constitutional provision reasonably is understood as limiting use of the designation of "marriage" under California *\37 law to opposite-sex couples, and thereby modifying the decision in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757, insofar as the majority opinion in that case holds that limiting the designation of "marriage" to the relationship entered into by opposite-sex couples constitutes an impermissible impingement upon the state constitutional rights of privacy and due process, the language of article I, section 7.5, on its face, does not purport to alter or affect the more general holding in the Marriage Cases that same-sex couples, as well as opposite-sex couples, enjoy the constitutional right, under the privacy and due process clauses of the California Constitution, to establish an officially recognized family relationship. Because, as a general matter, the repeal of constitutional provisions by implication is disfavored (see, e.g., In re Thiery S. (1979) 19 Cal.3d 727, 744; Warne v. Harkness (1963) 60 Cal.2d 579, 587-588), Proposition 8 reasonably must be interpreted in a limited fashion as eliminating only the right of same-sex couples to equal access to the designation of marriage, and as not otherwise affecting the constitutional right of those couples to establish an officially recognized family relationship.

Which could be interpreted, according to Doane, as meaning:

We now have two kinds of marriage in the state: those conducted up until the day Prop 8 passed and those conducted starting the day after it passed. For the former marriages, those conducted by both heterosexual and homosexual couples can be called marriage. For the latter marriages, heterosexual marriages can be officially called marriages and homosexual marriages -- which are still marriages in fact -- have to be called something else. So don't bother us about retroactivity; this difference between pre- and post-Prop 8 marriages is no big deal.

I think his interpretation is largely correct. The thing I can't get past is: if you call it something else, it is something else. Names are powerful.

Also: how does one go about getting marrid? What is the official process?

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