A quirky editorial today from the San Francisco Chronicle on jilting equality:
A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took the cautious route Monday by putting same-sex weddings on hold until it can review a ruling that would have allowed them to proceed this week.
Yes, well that’s the whole point of American appellate jurisprudence: To review rulings of lower courts.
Opponents of same-sex marriage had made a last-minute appeal, arguing that the resumption of such weddings would undermine the traditional understanding of marriage and the encouragement of responsible procreation.
They made a timely appeal based on the court’s deadlines for filing appeals. And regardless what one thinks of the merits of the appeal, given the importance of the issue, and the magnitude of what genderless marriage advocates want–the wholesale redefinition of marriage all over the United States–such an appeal was not only inevitable, but prudent.
The arguments for preserving marriage discrimination in the state Constitution, as prescribed by Proposition 8, were thoroughly reviewed and debunked in Judge Vaughn Walker’s Aug. 4 ruling that found no rational basis or state interest to support such a restriction.
So, had Judge Walker’s decision gone the other way, would the Chronicle have been content to let the decision rest with the lone opinion of one federal district court judge? Not likely. Genderless marriage activists want Judge Walker’s single opinion to set the constitutional standard for their social agenda because they realize that as the appellate process unfolds Judge Walker’s analysis is likely to face much more legal scrutiny than it thus far has from an adoring media and pop culture.
Walker’s reasoning was supported by this state’s experience when 18,000 same-sex couples were married before the passage of Prop. 8 in Nov. 2008. Those marriages produced no discernible harm to the state of heterosexual unions or the ability of Californians to bear children and raise them in a supportive home environment. What the passage of Proposition 8 did was create two classes of gays and lesbians: Those whose right to marry the partner of choice was asserted in a small window of time, and those whose fundamental right to marriage was taken away by a margin of 600,000 votes out of the 13.4 million that were cast.
Except none of this meets the constitutional test in this case. Those defending California’s Constitutional Amendment defining marriage only have to show that they have a rational basis for the definition. This is not a difficult standard to meet, and in fact has been met in various courts all across the country prior to this particular decision.
Barring intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, the three-judge appellate panel’s ruling will allow this two-tiered system to endure until at least December. There will be no rush to the altar, no rush to remedy an entrenched wrong. History is on hold.
A bit long on hyperbole, and short on rational analysis. There is no two tiered system. In California registered domestic partners enjoy all the law offers. This has not changed, and will not change for the foreseeable future. Hyperbole, not history is fortunately on hold, for now . . .