February 11-17 is National Freedom To Marry Week and there have been many public events throughout the state and country raising the profile of the concept of marriage equality, i.e. the idea that single sex couples should have access to the rights and responsibilities of marriage. In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to a high school student’s question yesterday asking about his position on pending legislation in the California legislature (AB 43) authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno which would end marriage discrimination in the state by saying:” “No. I wouldn’t sign it because the people of California have voted on that issue.” The Sacramento Bee report explains that “Schwarzenegger was referring to the passage of Proposition 22 in 2000 to limit marriage to a man and a woman.” Unfortunately, neither the Governor nor the media seem to understand that the idea that the rights of a minority should be decided by majority vote is inherently unfair. Currently, the question of whether Proposition 22’s passage and/or state law constitutionally prohibit same-sex marriage is currently being litigated and is pending before the California Supreme Court, with a final decision to be released by the end of 2007.
MadProfessah believes that neither Proposition 22 nor current state law can withstand a constitutional challenge on the basis of California state constitutional jurisprudence which has a much stricter standard of prohibition of sex discrimination than the federal constitution provides.
However, even if the California court follows the lead of the Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Jersey highest courts and acknowledges that discrimination against single sex couples in state-provided rights and responsibilities is wrong, heterosexual supremacists will place a constitutional amendment on one of the three statewide ballots in 2008 (February Presidential Primary, June Legislative Primary and November Presidential and Legislative Elections) to nullify the decision.