Sunday, April 10, 2011

My rights are not up for a vote

Equality California is asking its supporters and querying a whole host of others about whether to push to put the gay marriage question on the ballot in 2012. The current constitution amendment was overturned by a district court and is now before the 9th Circuit. They recently decided the stay of the lower court decision must be maintained. It may be the end of this year before the 9th Circuit decides, then it will surely go on to the Supremes. All that means we might not get a decision before the 2012 election. So, should EQCA try for the ballot box as the fastest way to restore marriage? Ari Ezra Waldman and his readers explore the issue.

* Putting a repeal on the ballot might indeed be the fastest way to get gay marriage restored to Calif.

* Going for a vote in 2012 means our rights will be a ping pong ball between opposing groups. Many responders were quite insistent that our rights should not be up for a vote.

* Putting the issue before the voters again (and again, as long as it takes) shows our opponents how serious we are. It keeps us and the issue visible.

* But relying solely on the judicial solution is also risky. Courts may rule against us or may not want to rule for us until several other states have passed marriage equality. Our chances before the current Supremes are iffy.

* Political and judicial efforts support each other. Courts can pressure politicians (or at least provide them cover) and several political victories can pressure courts.

* A ballot victory means the legal case dies. A favorable ruling by the 9th Circuit can affect all states in the circuit. A favorable ruling by the Supremes can affect the whole country. The ballot victory affects only Calif.

* Putting the issue on the ballot might draw out more Fundie voters and affect Obama's reelection. Or it might draw out more of our allies and help Obama's reelection. Or Obama's reelection might help the marriage equality vote.

* All this is over the word "marriage" -- Calif. law already gives gays the equivalent (though separate is never equal) so is the word worth $80 million?

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