Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Week's Cartoon

Last Tuesday's California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8, denying marriage rights to all but 18,000 gay and lesbian couples, came at a lousy time relative to my deadline for last week. While the ruling came as no surprise to anybody, there was always the possibility that the ruling would not come down exactly as expected. Last week's cartoon was therefore not on the most salient topic of the week (and was one I'd rather have had Q Syndicate hold as a "reserve" for a week I'm away on vacation).

So here is my belated take on the case. As background, contrast Chief Justice Ronald George's opinion in 2009:

"Nor does Proposition 8 fundamentally alter the meaning and substance of state constitutional equal protection principles as articulated in [the Marriage Cases] opinion. Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term 'marriage' for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple's state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws."

..with his opinion in the Marriage Cases in 2008:

"The current statutes -- by drawing a distinction between the name assigned to the family relationship available to opposite-sex couples and the name assigned to the family relationship available to same-sex couples, and by reserving the historic and highly respected designation of marriage exclusively to opposite-sex couples while offering same-sex couples only the new and unfamiliar designation of domestic partnership -- pose a serious risk of denying the official family relationship of same-sex couples the equal dignity and respect that is a core element of the constitutional right to marry."

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