California Supreme Court upholds Domestic Partner Law
House Blenders: “Radical” Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.
(San Francisco, California) Gays and lesbians won a major legal victory Wednesday when the California Supreme Court let stand a new law granting registered domestic partners many of the same rights and protections of heterosexual marriage.
Without comment, the unanimous justices upheld appellate and trial court rulings that the sweeping measure does not conflict with a voter-approved initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who leaves Thursday to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (story), did not vote.
The domestic partner law, which was signed in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis and took effect Jan. 1, represents the nation’s most comprehensive recognition of gay and lesbian domestic rights after Vermont’s recognition of civil unions. It grants registered couples virtually every spousal right available under state law except the ability to file joint income taxes.
While I still shudder at the idea of “separate-but-equal” marriage laws, I’m glad that progress toward equality is being made.
We’ve covered this issue up, down, and inside-out before. The point that always leaves me befuddled is the opposition’s fetish for the word marriage. In poll after poll, when you ask Americans “do you support gay marriage?”, a slim majority of people say “no.” But when you ask Americans “do you support civil unions that offer all the legal protections and benefits of marriage?” a larger majority say “yes.” It’s that word, “marriage”, with its historic and religious context, that trips up otherwise rational people.
As a straight married guy who strongly supports gay rights, I have a modest proposal. In these states with civil unions, let’s start demanding that the married supporters of civil unions immediately get divorced, then re-hitched under a civil union. Let’s encourage engaged straight young couples to take the civil union route, too. And let’s definitely push the legislators who make these laws to live by them.
If Oregon’s Civil Unions bill passes, the li’l redheaded woman and I will be the first to sign up. Maybe if enough straight couples run the gauntlet of trying to make separate-but-equal protection work, the resulting court cases may wind up at the Supreme Court for a Brown v. Board of Education style decision.
Surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot of ruckus over this at the Christian Republic of Freeperstan (yet… it only posted 11 minutes ago). I think they’ve just given up on Colleefawneeya. Only a little Cornyn-approved love for the judicial branch…
And this is exactly why civil unions and whatever else must be included in the wording of DOMAs and amendments.
Ammunition manufactured in 2005 will serve well in the coming elections. We should thank the courts this day.
What is this? You vote, it passes, they change it anyway….
No, we don’t need a Constitutional Amendment. What we need is to send a loud message to activist judges who regularly give the finger to voters, either by voting them out or….