August 12, 2004

On the mass annulments in SF

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at August 12, 2004 6:08 PM
State high court invalidates SF's same-sex marriages

San Francisco's attempt to legalize same-sex marriages, which made the city a magnet for gay and lesbian couples from around the nation and the focus of a nationwide political uproar, ran into a roadblock Thursday at the California Supreme Court.

The justices ruled unanimously that Mayor Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority when he ordered the marriage licenses issued on Feb. 12 in defiance of a state law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


I hate to say it but the court did the right thing here. Unconstitutional laws should be challenged through the courts rather than just disregarded by local officials who disagree with them. In this case I agree with Newsom's goal, but I can't help envisioning alternative scenarios where more conservative towns reject state law for more harmful purposes. If a California mayor instituted (say) mandatory school prayer under this kind of argument, I'd want the courts to stop him as soon as possible, and I feel I should hold Newsom to the same standard.

The sort of legal action that led to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts seems like the right way to do it, barring a successful ballot measure or act of the legislature (neither of which is likely). Of course conditions have to be right in the courts, or the result could instead be a pretty damaging precedent.

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Comments

Well said. The rule of law should always triumph over grandstand plays. If it didn't old what's his name would still be chief of the Alabama Supreme Court and the Ten Commandments would be tattooed on the inner arms of sixth graders there.

Posted by: Dad | August 12, 2004 9:24 PM

I am in total agreement here.

Posted by: Tracy | August 13, 2004 12:32 PM
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