Prop 8: The Decisioning

Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.
-Actual quote from Prop 8 decision

Sort of amazing that sentence actually had to be written in a legal decision, huh?  Let’s get into some more of the text from Judge Walker’s decision (full text of the decision is here, apparently written on a typewriter in the 40s (what the fuck)).:

Although Proposition 8 fails to possess even a rational basis,

Elbow from the sky!

the evidence presented at trial shows that gays and lesbians are the type of minority strict scrutiny was designed to protect. Massachusetts Board of Retirement v Murgia, 427 US 307, 313 (1976) (noting that strict scrutiny may be appropriate where a group has experienced a “‘history of purposeful unequal treatment’ or been subjected to unique disabilities on the basis of stereotyped characteristics not truly indicative of their abilities.”

The trial record shows that strict scrutiny is the appropriate standard of review to apply to legislative classifications based on sexual orientation. All classifications based on sexual orientation appear suspect, as the evidence shows that California would rarely, if ever, have a reason to categorize individuals based on their sexual orientation.

We’ll be hearing truckloads of horseshit from idiots like Glenn Beck about how Walker is some liberal activist judge when in reality this point is a complete no-brainer.  Why have an equal protection clause if you’re not going to apply it to minorities that require it?  For the record, Walker was appointed by George Bush Sr.  The difference is, he’s a legal scholar, not some idealogue with an axe to grind.

More highlights:

The evidence shows that the tradition of restricting an individual’s choice of spouse based on gender does not rationally further a state interest despite its “ancient lineage.” Instead, the evidence shows that the tradition of gender restrictions arose when spouses were legally required to adhere to specific gender roles. California has eliminated all legally-mandated gender roles except the requirement that a marriage consist of one man and one woman. Proposition 8 thus enshrines in the California Constitution a gender restriction that the evidence shows to be nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.

I can’t wait for the uproar when science figures out how to impregnate a man.  Also nice use of scare quotes, judge.

The evidence does not support a finding that California has an interest in preferring opposite-sex parents over same-sex parents. Indeed, the evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes. Moreover, Proposition 8 has nothing to do with children, as Proposition 8 simply prevents  same-sex couples from marrying. Same-sex couples can have (or adopt) and raise children. When they do, they are treated identically to opposite-sex parents under California law. Even if California had an interest in preferring opposite-sex parents to same-sex parents —— and the evidence plainly shows that California does not —— Proposition 8 is not rationally related to that interest, because Proposition 8 does not affect who can or should become a parent under California law.

Man, their arguments seem even more nonsensical when you address them seriously instead of just pointing out that they’re idiotic.

In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.

…The evidence at trial regarding the campaign to pass Proposition 8 uncloaks the most likely explanation for its passage: a desire to advance the belief that opposite-sex couples are morally superior to same-sex couples. The campaign relied heavily on negative stereotypes about gays and lesbians and focused on protecting children from inchoate threats vaguely associated with gays and lesbians.

Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples. Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Pretty solid stuff.  To summarize the 136-page document:

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