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.