Thursday, May 15, 2008

California S. Ct. Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

Happened this afternoon. Some unsorted thoughts.

  • Let us all recite The Great Progressive Conundrum which goes like this: I hate to see something like this in an election year with so much riding on it. On the other hand, it's hard to ask our gay allies, brothers, sisters, friends, etc. to disproportionately bear the burden for the sake of broader progressive goals. On the other other hand, one can question whether a court challenge is a more effective way to move toward equal marriage rights than the long slog of building a new political consensus. On the other other other hand, it's hard to fundamental rightness of the marriage advocates. Etc.
  • The case was decided based on the California Constitution. As such it won't get to the U.S. Supreme Court, and doesn't "endanger" the marriage definition of any other state, given DOMA and the proliferation of state-level DOMAs. Shear logic alone won't keep it from being used as political fodder, of course.
  • Gay marriage opponents have a Constitutional amendment initiative in the works. It may pull enough otherwise residents of Wingnuttonia to make the election closer.
  • The language describing the decision in the LA Times piece is heavily reminiscent of Loving v. Virginia which overturned anti-miscegenation laws and about which see here and the links therein.
  • The justices on the California Supreme Court are all Republicans, by the way. That won't keep conservatives from making the argument that Obama's court nominees will be favorably inclined toward gay marriage but it would undermine the contention that these decisions only come from moonbatty outliers, if logic had any sway.
  • Which, again, it does not.


Chris Baker said...

The only reason why this would have a negative impact is because Democrats have been extremely weak in countering Republican "values" frames. Hackett was a master of turning these traditional negatives into positives. Obama's looking good on that front too. Also, California is not seriously in play for McCain.

Personally, I'm tired of Progressives waiting for the Democratic Party to get their ducks in a row. They are politicians. They are weak. They are cowards. The only way to get them to do anything is to push them, preferably with an electoral gun at their back.