Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marriage ban unconstitution: California Supreme Court

The Court's own website is jammed with traffic right now, so why don't you try reading the decision here instead. The opinions are, unsurprisingly, fairly lengthy.

As expected, it's 4-3, with a majority opinion by Chief Justice George, a concurring opinion by Justice Kennard, and dissents by Justices Baxter and Corrigan. Corrigan noted that she believed same-sex couples ought to be able to marry.

Primary season is effectively over, and the general election campaign gearing up. What, if any effect will this decision have - particularly in light of McCain's recent red-meat speech on the judiciary? Who knows.

As the Court notes, this case is unusual because unlike other state courts, the California justices had to decide the marriage issue in the context of a fully comprehensive domestic partnership law. Both sides of the decision believe that law underscores, if not undergirds, their conclusions. (If California had no such law, or only a much more modest one, the majority here might well have been bigger, with a split on the remedy as in New Jersey.)

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