March 5, 2009

Kenneth Starr does what he does best.

Those urging the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage seemed to have had a tough row to hoe Thursday, peppered by justices' questions on balancing marriage rights with voters' rights to change the state constitution.

After three hours of arguments, it seemed as though the seven justices leaned against voiding the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed last year, but their stance on Proposition 8's constitutionality was less clear.

They're grappling with issues such as what "inalienable" means when used to describe a constitutional right; whether such rights can be limited or revoked by an amendment, by a revision or at all; and how majority rule balances with protection of historically disadvantaged minorities' fundamental liberties. The court will rule within 90 days.

Pepperdine Law School Dean Kenneth Starr — best known for his role as a special prosecutor investigating various activities of President Bill Clinton — argued for Proposition 8's proponents that the people's right to change the constitution as they see fit amounts to "sovereignty," and an "inalienable" right "cannot be taken away except with the appropriate process."

Starr said the court's own precedents say a constitutional revision is necessary only for changes to government's basic structure, and to require revisions to alter or limit individual rights would be "an unprecedented revolution in this court's jurisprudence."

UPDATE: Meanwhile in North Carolina, Terri Schiavo activist David Gibbs III is worried that gay marriage may lead to us all marrying Cylons. I'm partial to a Number Six or Eight myself.

I'm not kidding.

David Gibbs III, a lawyer who in 2005 fought to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on life support, told rally participants gay marriage would "open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina.

"Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?" Gibbs asked. "Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots."

...Sen. Jim Jacumin, a Republican representing Burke and Caldwell counties and one of the co-sponsors of the bill, read most of Genesis 2, the biblical passage in which woman is created out of Adam's rib to be his "helper."

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No matter what the state Supreme Court decides, the fight for equality will continue in California and across the country.

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