General Articles

California Court Fails to Strike Down Prop 8

May 26, 2009

Statement of Joseph DiNorcia, Jr., president and CEO of SIECUS, on the Failure of the California Supreme Court to Strike Down Proposition 8

It continues to upset and disturb us here at SIECUS that, time and time again, gay men and women throughout America are denied the basic rights and protections that are afforded to heterosexuals.  Today, by upholding their state’s ban on gay marriage, passed by voters as Proposition 8 last November, the California Supreme Court has created another barrier against equality and justice for men and women who simply want the freedom to live and marry in peace.  The fact that the court’s ruling has allowed existing gay marriages to stand, while preventing any in the future, is not admirable, but rather a result of the inconsistent logic that was used to deprive so many people of their rights.

While I am sure that conservative pundits and policymakers will hail this decision as a blow against “judicial activism,” they are dead wrong.  The courts are supposed to be the last bastion of fairness in our political system.  It is their role to strike down any laws which infringe on the liberties guaranteed to all of us in our country’s founding documents.  In this situation, however, they are instead upholding the tyranny of a misguided majority that fell prey to the extreme right wing’s tactics of fear mongering and intolerance.

The right to marry should be one of the most fundamental in our system.  Not only does denying gay people the right to marry deprive them of myriad legal advantages and privileges that heterosexuals enjoy; it also violates those most important qualities of fairness and equality that are the foundations of all of our laws and institutions.

It is our very sincere hope that the people of California will not take this setback lying down, but will, instead, stand up and fight the agents of intolerance who would deprive all of us of those rights they disagree with.   To the gay men and women who have been sadly and adversely affected by today’s decision, know that our thoughts are with you, and our commitment to action and equality has never been stronger.