>Thoughts on Calif. Supreme Court Ruling

>Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or have been really, really busy), I’m sure you’ve heard about the California Supreme Court ruling that deemed the ban on same-sex marriage illegal.

If not, here’s the NY Times version of the ruling.

The court’s 4-to-3 decision, drawing on a ruling six decades ago that struck down the state’s ban on interracial marriage, would make California only the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages. The decision, which becomes effective in 30 days unless the court grants a stay, was greeted with celebrations at San Francisco City Hall, where thousands of same-sex marriages were thrown out by the courts four years ago. It was denounced by religious and conservative groups, who pledged to support an initiative proposed for the November ballot that would amend California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriages and overturn the decision.

Political pundits and news reporters are already analyzing the ruling, claiming that it could revive the gay marriage debate in this year’s general election.

Where do the three presidential candidates stand?

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is on record opposing a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, putting him at odds with conservative activists on the issue. McCain, who supports defining marriage as between a man and a woman, says the issue should be left to the states. Both Democratic contenders, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, support civil unions but oppose gay marriage.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, third-party candidate (and self-proclaimed states’ rights man) Bob Barr surprisingly supports the California ruling. He issued a statement a week before the Libertarian national convention in Denver:

Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions or not ought to be a power each state exercises on its own, rather than imposition of a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government (as would be required by a Federal Marriage Amendment which has been previously proposed and considered by the Congress).

The decision today by the Supreme Court of California properly reflects this fundamental principle of federalism on which our nation was founded.

“Indeed, the primary reason for which I authored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was to ensure that each state remained free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and not be forced to adopt a definition of marriage contrary to its views by another state.

The decision in California is an illustration of how this principle of states’ powers should work.”

Personally, I’m glad to see California lead the way in striking down this blatant discrimination against a group of tax-paying, law abiding citizens. I wish more states would follow California in ensuring justice and equality for all, no matter what race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or creed may be. Sadly, I’m a realist and I know most states will turn the other cheek and continue to promote intolerance.

I also know some conservatives and Republicans will seek to take this issue and frame it as a war on “conservative, American values” and will try to link Sens. Obama or Clinton with this tidal wave of “liberal activist judges” making policy.

What do you think of the ruling? Do you think this ruling will propel the gay marriage issue back into the forefront of this year’s election?