Friday, May 16, 2008

Catching the Bouquet

This is the kind of day a young bachelor can call a “wash”. The beautiful Shania Twain is back on the market, but the beautiful Portia de Rossi is officially engaged.

Portia is marrying Ellen  DeGeneres thanks to a 4-3 decision by the California Supreme Court yesterday which made it unconstitutional in that state to deny a marriage license to folks just because they are of the same sex. Already the Constitutional and Evangelical Conservatives are beating a path to the Golden state to get a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot to stop this outbreak of common sense. I imagine that they will have a 50/50 chance of success. See, if California Republicans can make a big enough stink about this they can get out a heavy vote in November to possibly tip their state to John McCain. If they are on the ballot in November, it will have a carryover effect in many states and will be a huge issue in the election. This decision is potentially the best thing that ever happened to McCain and the worst thing that ever happened to Obama. It will be interesting to see how the Dems word their support of this decision in their platform this summer.


The funniest thing about all this “marriage” stuff is that it is all purely symbolic (which is not to say it is not important). California has very liberal law on Civil Unions which give most marriage rights to gay families. What the decision REALLY did, and what I have not read much about, is that it changed the category of protection for homosexuals in California under their Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. Gays  are now a “suspect class” just like African Americans. No longer will any  intermediate scrutiny test be applied to  laws which may affect gays in California. Now the laws must pass strict scrutiny  to be constitutional. A much more difficult (i.e. just about impossible) barrier to overcome. As of today, the homosexual in California stands in every way on equal ground with his heterosexual brother or sister. That is the real significance of this decision, not whether the Constitution of California differentiates in the terminology they use to describe family units in their state, something that time will erode anyway.


Since I am a tax payer in the great state of California (owning as I do an undivided 1% interest in a time share in San Diego County) this decision possibly effects me more than it does you. We California tax payers have a right to be heard on this issue. Well I am here to say that I am all for it. Speaking as a lawyer, the idea that another 10% or so of the population will now need divorces is manna from heaven. Speaking as a Californian,  I applaud my states progressive views on what constitutes a family. Speaking as a Methodist, I now hope that the fact that the most populous state in the nation allows gay marriage means that my Church will finally have to open its eyes and sanction gay marriage (not to mention gay ministers). Speaking as a married man, I say welcome to the club, the more the merrier. Kinky Friedman supported gay marriage because he felt that gays had the same right to be miserable as the rest of us. I’m not so cynical. I think that it is, in the words of Morey Amsterdam, “a great institution”. Of course as Morey always said, “Who wants to marry an institution ?”


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