Day: May 26, 2009

Gay Marriage in California

A tragic development occurred today when the California Supreme Court reversed last year’s decision and upheld the narrow victory of the anti gay marriage supporters in the state referendum held at the time of last fall’s Presidential election.

At the same time, the California Supreme Court upheld the 18,000 marriages that took place over about six months after the court ruled in favor of gay marriage up to the time of the election referendum.

This whole development is so contradictory and invites further attempts to legitimize gay marriage on a permanent basis through another struggle via constitutional referendum in the future.

Just imagine if the states were allowed to vote in the 1960s on whether interracial marriage should be allowed!  The Supreme Court of the United States finally ruled on that issue in 1967, and I think ultimately, the Supreme Court at some point will have to rule on gay marriage in the future.

So gay marriage has made advancements in recent months in several states, just as the largest state embarrasses itself on this issue within one year,  and it makes one wonder why there should even be a vote on this issue.  Is marriage to be allowed only if a majority allow it?  It seems to me that this is not the business of a referendum, but is a basic constitutional right.  At the same time, of course, no religious group can be required to marry two people they do not wish to marry, but since civil marriage exists, religion should not be able to interfere with marriages outside of religious boundaries.

One thing is certain:  the battle over this issue will continue, and I believe, in  the long run, gay marriage will eventually be widely accepted, as it is already among people under the age of 40.  It is a question of time and adaptation to change.

Sonia Sotomayor, The New Supreme Court Justice

President Obama has made an historic appointment of Sonia Sotomayor,  the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, and the third woman ever to sit on the Court.

Sotomayor comes to the Court as the most experienced at time of nomination of any of the present members of the Supreme Court.  Her story is inspiring, growing up in public housing in the South Bronx, New York; losing her father at age 9;  having her mother hold down two jobs while bringing up Sonia and her brother without any other help; excelling in Catholic school and having the opportunity to attend Princeton University and graduating summa cum laude;  going to Yale Law School and serving on the law review;  being appointed by GOP President George HW Bush to a district court judgeship;  and elevated to the circuit court level by Bill Clinton.

Sotomayor comes across as a strong, determined woman who will bring hope to millions of Hispanics nationally, as well as other minorities.  As President Obama said, it shows that anyone can accomplish great things in America.  Some have compared her life story to Obama’s own past, although she grew up in far worse circumstances of poverty than Obama did.  

While she is a diabetic, the hope is that this will not shorten the term of Sotomayor on the Court.  The expectation is that she will distinguish herself on the Court for at least a couple of decades.  She certainly will not be a silent member of the Court, and will start to right the balance on the Court in such a way that women and minorities, who have been denied the opportunity to serve on the highest court in the land, can now expect renewed opportunities for accomplishment at that level.

While there will be opposition expected from the Republican party, hopefully it will not be significant, and not stoop to the level of critics such as Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney.  IF the Republicans choose to follow their lead, then Hispanics and women as major voting blocs will be lost for a generation or more by the party, and it would therefore be an act of self destruction and guarantee the dominance of the Democrats for the long term.  In that political sense,  Barack Obama has shown himself to be extremely shrewd!