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So- What Arguments Worked Today in California?

And which ones were either duds or not fully fleshed out?

Open Thread Time, folks!


For my money, Michael Maroko was right on the money in this exchange with Justice Chin:

Associate Justice Ming Chin asked attorney Michael Maroko, representing same-sex couples, whether a remedy to this situation would be to have the state issue licenses only for civil unions to all couples, leaving "marriage" to the faith community.

"If you're in the marriage business, do it equally," Maroko replied. "And if you're not going to do it equally, get out of the business."

There’s the thing: California DID inject itself, “in a very REAL and LEGALLY binding sense”, smack dab in the middle of the marriage business.

And unless they reverse themselves and allow all equal marriage, as was the case pre-November 4th 2008, there will be no end of the lawsuits of discrimination.

Let’s have at this thing…Shannon Minter hit one out of the park as well:

And it was a disappointment driven home by Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, in his final remarks to the court.

When Chief Justice Ronald George suggested the argument that gay couples were being denied rights was a bit disingenuous and may have been an argument chosen for strategic reasons, than legal ones, Minter was blunt.

“There is nothing strategic about the impact this decision will have on the lives of tens of thousands of same-sex couples and their children,” said Minter. “Being relegated to a different legal status and singled out on the basis of a characteristic with no relationship to ability to participate marks [same-sex couples] as second-class citizens, and there is real harm done to their children. It will exacerbate exponentially the outsider status enshrined in our state constitution.”

What didn’t work? Well, imo the entire participation of Assistant AG Christopher Kruger:

An awkward moment for pro-gay attorneys came during the arguments of Christopher Krueger, who was representing the California Attorney General’s office. Attorney General Jerry Brown supports equal marriage rights and has said he believes Proposition 8 is unconstitutional; but Krueger was questioned heavily about Brown’s disagreement that Proposition 8 is a revision.

“On which side are you?” asked Justice Kennard, bluntly, before Krueger had a chance to even begin his argument. Krueger acknowledged that he considered himself on the side of those challenging Proposition 8. And he tried to make the point that Proposition 8 is an “unprecedented kind of amendment” – that it took away a fundamental right without a compelling need to do so.

Kennard seemed to dismiss the argument as a “novel theory” and then the justices became mired in a discussion of what constitutes an “inalienable right” – something Krueger seemed to struggle with, too.

The reporter writing this piece was kind; Kruger’s testimony was more poorly delivered than that of the public defender in “My Cousin Vinny”.

Stammering and stumbling, out of either nerves, lack of conviction or incompetence, his was a painful testimony to listen to and frankly did more damage than good- one could not get past HOW he was delivering his messages to ascertain what the hell he was saying.

One would think that he would have been FAR more prepared to speak before the California Supreme Court- he was an utter mess.

Jerry Brown, you SHOULD have been there– and there SHOULD be a backlash upon you and your office. That you decided to give this a pass is perplexing and disappointing.

Was any explanation given?

RL obligations prevented me from hearing after the Kruger disaster; would love to get analysis from those who were able to hear/watch further…

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