California Supreme Court Los Angeles Times

Til Cowardly Ruling Do We Part


    Should voters toss the chief justice in 2010?

It doesn’t take a legal scholar to point out the obvious reason why the California Supreme Court, led by Ron George, got it so wrong in their ruling that denied gays the right to marry. They saw the ghost of Rose Bird and feared the anti-gay-rights mob would recall them.

George et al continues to fool some of my better-informed friends and colleagues, including the editorial writers at the L.A. Times. For amusement — and motivation to act — check out today’s solo editorial, which seeks to draw lessons of a corrupt West Virginia high court jurist for California. We’re advised, of course, not to recall George in 2010 because it’s not like he was on the take from corporate interests when he bungled the gay-marriage ruling. Nice logic if you believe money trumps rights.

The cowardly George takes hero status in the editorial for bowing to the will of the people only months after upholding the legal foundation of same-sex unions. Maybe we should induct him into the Flip Floppers Hall of Fame when we vote to keep him on the high court next year.

In the gay-marriage cases, George’s votes demonstrated conscience, professionalism and restraint. He voted to uphold same-sex unions out of the strong conviction — which this page shares — that the Constitution does not allow society to deny the protection of marriage to gay couples any more than it once denied it to those united across race. The ruling was right on the law, and will certainly be validated over the long march of history.

Months later, voters tacked in the other direction, narrowly rejecting gay marriage and amending the Constitution to allow California to recognize only the unions of heterosexual couples… George subordinated his politics — as evidenced by his writing — to the weight of constitutional opinion. He voted to uphold the proposition, even though it undid his own work. Permitted latitude within the strictures of the Constitution in the first case, George was able to vote his conscience; bound by the Constitution in the second case, he yielded…

This is not West Virginia. Corporate interests are not knocking off justices who disagree with them and seating more accommodating replacements. But intimidation has no place in our judicial life any more than it does in Appalachia. The 1986 campaign against Bird and her colleagues now stands for many as a reminder that well-intentioned systems of accountability may be hijacked by special interests, a lesson learned too often and at great cost in California. It was misguided in its first iteration; it would be regrettable in its second.

In fact, maybe it’s worse — or at least as bad — as in West Virginia.


  • If I want to live my life with man why should the supreme court and Ron George interfere with my personal life?

    We in the gay community have a a right to love and live as we wish.

  • Unfortunately, its the pure politics it seems you want to inject here that made the West Virginia case such a blatant no-no. Justices are not and should not be politicians and threatening to remove a justice because of a politically unpopular decision reeks of politics as usual. What has Geoge’s long tenure said about his jurisprudence? Thats all that should matter, not whether or not he pissed off the wrong group of people.

  • Not a very good look at from our host or the LA Times at the legal issues at play. (I have nothing to add on that score either.) He is, after all, a judge and having some humility about the limits of his post is perfectly reasonable. The problem here, in my opinion, is that it’s way too easy to amend the California State Constitution, which leads to all sorts of problems. I understand why people will be angry with George, but it’s really just because he’s easy to blame. The real culprits here are the voters who chose intolerance. We need to change minds and have another election.

  • A 6-1 ruling, in favor of Proposition 8, is hardly political, especially when you compare this to the 4-3 decision that made Homosexual marriage legal out of thin air.

    It was comforting that the CA Supreme court actually ruled on the law based on the CA constitution, instead of pretending they are monarchs and just proclaiming the law as they see fit.

    Apparently some fools want monarchs instead of judges.

  • Cowardly ruling?! Judges are supposed to apply the law and respect the votes of citizens — not make “brave” decisions for progressives.

    Gays have the same rights to marriage as do straight couples. A straight man may marry a straight woman and a gay man may marry a gay woman.

    It’s so obvious that homosexuality is a political movement rather than a social one.

    – – –

    Traditional Marriage Rallies Ignored by Media

    “Traditional marriage is SO, like, TWENTIETH century!”

  • The Georgia Supreme Court is turning too gay friendly.

    Court throws out ban on exposing children to gays: The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday threw out a judge’s order that prohibited children in a divorce case from having any contact with their father’s gay and lesbian friends.

    I would like to know a little more about each of those “friends” before I let my kids around potential predators.

  • Wait, shouldn’t we be asking Celeste what her “motives” are for supporting gay marriage? After all, according to Eddie–er, Woody–if like reg she is a member of the “faggot mafia” (his words), then she should expect to go to hell.

    I love how this all comes back again. And I look forward to another round of the expected evasions and backflips.

  • After the Georgia court removed the ban on four children meeting the divorced father’s gay friends: Father reportedly said the ruling was FABULOUS.

  • So how exactly do reg and Celeste support gay rights differently, Woody? Are you planning on ever answering that question? Or do you prefer basking in contradiction and murky evasion? I’m really looking forward to your having the intellectual courage to answer. Stop running scared.

  • Ward, you’re one of those who takes a statement and says, “In other words…,” to make it say what you want it to say. What I say stands on its own and isn’t intended to be interpreted or distorted by you or anyone else.

  • Still waiting, Woody. You can answer seriously anytime you’re ready. Your evasions aren’t very effective at distracting from your lack of a serious response.

  • Actually, Woody, that’s precisely your limitation: once you’re trapped in your failed arguments, you’re unable/unwilling to stay on topic. So what you’re doing now is called projection.

    You’re free to stop evading anytime. Honestly, you won’t get hurt.

  • Not evading anything. I never attacked Celeste personally and never said anything bad to reg or Randy out of emotion. You’re trying to link things that are completely separate. What you’re doing is precisely what homosexuals do when they get upset with someone so they act like girls try to cause them trouble. Sorry that I won’t accomodate you.

  • Clearly evading, and I’m not sure why. What you are claiming is that Celeste and reg/Randy differ on their views of homosexuality and gay marriage in some crucial way, and yet you’ve provided absolutely zero evidence to back up this assertion. What you are not doing is explaining how, because you realize that there is no meaningful difference: reg, Randy, and Celeste all believe that gay marriage should be legal, and that this is a civil rights issue. You are trying to make it appear that reg’s and Randy’s views are somehow more “radical” than Celeste’s, either because you are distracted by your emotional feelings toward reg/Randy, or because you are willfully distorting the truth.

    Now, will you ever just simply respond in a relevant manner, or are you going to persist in avoiding the topic? It’s really not that difficult, but you have to at least have the desire to be honest. I’m becoming more convinced that you don’t, however, which is too bad.

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