Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Note 3 On the California Supreme Court’s Opinion

The Ballot initiative embodied in Proposition 22 was almost as weak in its language as the opinion rendered on marriage in California by the appellate court (Note 2). Section 308.5, the initiative statute submitted to the voters of California as Proposition 22 at the March 7, 2000 reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The voters of California and the authors of Proposition 22, however, have some excuse. The statue was designed not only to restate the definition of marriage for California, but also to repudiate the “so-called” marriages enacted in the state of Massachusetts. Moreover, no one wants to write definitions of marriage into the law that are so precise that when our sixth grade son proclaims the Constitution in the classroom we are sadly obliged to wash his mouth out with soap. Finally, the elegant simplicity of Prop. 22's language is exactly what is needed in a ballot initiative.

Nevertheless, it is important that we don’t encourage the madmen in their delusions. There is no such thing as a marriage that does not take place between a man and a woman, and California law, sadly, needs to say just this. How ridiculous that we must be drawn into such insanity by our highest state courts. How degrading that we must explain again and again the basic meanings of words to those who are supposed to exercise jurisprudence. It is a tragic day in America that we have come to such complete barbarism in the midst of a land of plenty and of blessing. Perhaps a simpler language might be best fitted to the people’s task as warders, unpaid warders, of the State Sanitarium: “Marriage only exists between a man and a woman, and California does not recognize the 'so-called' marriages enacted elswere.”

To add insult to insanity, California’s highest court had the temerity to go on record and argue that the voters of California had no idea what they were voting for. The court argues that it is rational to construe the language of Proposition 22 to apply only to marriages outside California (page 28, paragraph 1). There is abundant evidence of Proposition 22’s intent. The intent of the law, not the ability of men to defraud the voters by twisting words, is the exact purview of courts. To actually take the side of the word twisters, charlatans, and hucksters on our tax dime, to wrest this statute out of its plain context while pretending to wear the garb of justice is either the babblings of madmen, the height of arrogance, or outright criminal malfeasance.

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