California's state constitution and gay marriage

12:42 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
As usual, Steve thought of things I hadn't even considered.
"When all is said and done, the only legal leg that civil rights defenders of any sort can stand on is constitutional, whether it be state or federal. The Founders went out of their way to guarantee as many rights as they could to their successors, even deliberately stating that we have rights that they hadn't even THOUGHT of.

So legislatures and congress can and do make anti-civil rights laws out the wazoo, and they'll stick until two things happen: someone challenges the law in court, and a Court rules that the law infringes on constitutionally guaranteed rights, which in the case of
the Federal Constitution is absolutely everything not expressly treated in the document.
However, while the entire purpose of a constitutional democracy is to shield us from the fickle whims of a tyrannical majority, it can't protect us entirely. Constitutions can and must be modifiable to retain relevance, and it is always possible that that
modifiability will be hijacked by demagogues, especially after they are defeated again and again by a Court system that refuses to let unconstitutional laws stand. So really, what choice did they have? By going straight to the very, very top, they remove the courts' ability to strike down these prejudicial laws.
What surprises me is that in California, apparently, a simple majority vote on a citizen-initiated ballot is enough to modify the state constitution. As I stated earlier, the entire point of HAVING a constitution in a democracy or republic is to make it difficult to change the founding principles of the state; for example, changing the US constitution is very difficult, requiring that 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of state legislatures approve the change! In other words, it only takes thirteen states to veto an amendment, which is why I am not expecting a "Defense of Marriage" amendment to get through any time soon at the national level.
But in California, it is apparently as easy to pass an amendment as a law! That leaves me wondering why the hell the Prop H8ters even BOTHERED with a law in the first place. This indicates, to me, that Calfornia's constitution is DEEPLY flawed, and the only bright point here is that it will be just as easy to remove the amendment as it was to create it. I'm sure that that will occur, eventually, although this success has really emboldened the religious fanatics, and with their political power on the ropes they will have little to do in the coming years but pursue these sorts of measures elsewhere."
Paragraphs inserted for your pleasure.

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