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Marriage: A Question of Rights, Not Politics

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: May 29, 2009

The California Supreme Courts ruling on Proposition 8 was disappointing because it affirmed the popular vote rather than recognizing the negative impact on the rights of a minority of citizens. The justices reaffirmed the political decision and completely ignored the legal repercussions.

Throughout the debate on gay marriage, we have argued that it is a personal matter, related to the protections and duties of the individual under the law. Religious perspectives should be respected but not imposed on society at large, and much less on the law.

We have opposed and rejected the amendment of the state constitution to limit rights already established for Californians, as is the case with Proposition 8. The majority has many powers, but taking away the rights of a minority is not one of them.

What happened in California is nothing new. Throughout our history, it has been the federal courts, and eventually, the Supreme Court, that has had to intervene to protect the rights of minorities under law when they are denied by the majority. We believe it is appropriate to follow the same path in this case, as is happening now.

Meanwhile, while California is banning gay marriage, other states are recognizing its legality. A federal ruling would provide nationwide legal uniformity.

There will certainly be new state propositions on this issue. Politics, religious values, and personal beliefs will continue to form an explosive mix of passions. This is no way to decide on the rights of individuals.

The state Supreme Courts ruling artificially created distinct categories of people by declaring marriages entered into before the initiative legal and others illegal. It was a Solomonic, political ruling, yet anomalous because of the message it sends. It is time to talk about equal rights for all under the law.

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Editorial: Gay Marriage, Abortion on the California Ballot

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