Gay Marriage in CA Takes a Hit

As you’ve probably heard, the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8, which bans “gay marriage” in the state. People are pretty shocked (and understandably upset) about the ruling, but after reading the details of the case, I can’t say I’m surprised by the result:

Supporters of same-sex marriage, who filed several suits challenging the proposition after its adoption, argued that the change to the state’s Constitution was so fundamental that the initiative was not an amendment at all but instead a “revision,” a term for measures that rework core constitutional principles.

Under California law, revisions cannot be decided through a simple signature drive and a majority vote, as with Proposition 8. Instead, they can be placed on the ballot only with a two-thirds vote by the Legislature.

But the justices said the proposition was an amendment, not a revision. It has been historically rare for the state’s courts to overturn initiatives on the ground that they are actually revisions, and many legal scholars had deemed the challenge to Proposition 8 a long shot.

That’s pretty thin gruel to hang a challenge on. Meantime, a lawyer who blogs at Kos notes that, in every other respect, the ruling indicates that the court is in favor of equality and would probably have ruled in favor of gay marriage if that was, in fact, what they were being asked to rule on. But it wasn’t.

This is certainly a setback, but it’s not surprising and it doesn’t at all mean that the fight for equality is being lost.

A Penny — Or Four Separate Commemorative Pennies Detailing Major Aspects Of President Lincoln’s Life, As Outlined In Title III Of Public Law 109-145, The Presidential $1 Coin Act Of 2005 — For Your Thoughts?

A Times op-ed today questions the usefulness of all the commemorative coins out there. Something I learned: Those of you (ahem and ahem) who are busy railing against the penny may or may not realize that this year is a bad time to bang the drum:

In 2009, the United States Mint will mint and issue four different one-cent coins in recognition of the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the first issuance of the Lincoln cent. The reverse (tails) designs were unveiled September 22 at a ceremony held at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. While the obverse (heads) will continue to bear the familiar likeness of President Lincoln currently on the one-cent coin, the reverse will reflect four different designs, each one representing a different aspect, or theme, of the life of President Lincoln.

Personalized Legislation

Dan Savage read this and said, WTF?

A handful of gay-rights proponents sided with Republicans in the Democratic-controlled House to vote down the bill 188-186 Wednesday, hours after the Senate approved the gay-marriage legislation by 14-10 along party lines.

I had a similar reaction. New Hampshire has almost 400 legislators in the lower house? And only 24 senators?

Sure enough, it’s true. That’s 1 legislator for every 3,000 people. Surely, you must be able to get your letters answered. Come to think of it, if I lived in NH, I’d want my legislator to be available by cell phone, morning, noon & night.

Bob Packwood Buries The Lede

If we can recast public financing of healthcare as a way to starve the rest of the beast, as Bob Packwood* sort of argues (if you squint) then there might be an opening to finally see it happen:

So Americans have a choice. We can spend 40 percent of our G.D.P., and provide services like Britain’s national health care. If we spent like the Nordic countries, we could provide government-paid maternity leave, subsidize college tuition and offer a health plan that was close to free for all Americans. But this would leave significantly less money for taxpayers to spend as they want.

Sounds good to me! Bring everyone on board!

*Yes, that Bob Packwood. (Geez — Newt, Eliot, now Bob Packwood, too? Is everyone going to be rehabilitated at some point?)