President Barack Obama

The Obama Administration has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. We discuss the administration’s legal stance on the issue and its potential impact on the court, as well as efforts nationwide to legalize same-sex marriage.

David Levine, professor of law at UC Hastings
Scott Shafer, reporter and host of KQED's The California Report

  • Leonidas

    How about a ban on marriage itself? Why honor religion by supporting its rituals, when religion is the handy fount of frivolous justifications for hate used by so many knuckle-dragging intellectual underachievers? Mouth-breathing ne’erdowells worldwide grab for their Bible or Koran whenever they feel funny inside upon perceiving a man’s derriere, a lesbian’s sideburns, or even when a person of another race gets them aroused. We need to stop honoring the preposterous beliefs of goat herders from 2000 years ago, encoded in bogus stories in contradiction-filled books. We need to reject their rites and rituals and invent our own modern equivalents, preferably ones not involving Facebook.

    • thucy

      “How about a ban on marriage itself?”

      We can’t do that.

      Because that, to paraphrase Lewis Black, “makes TOO MUCH SENSE.”

      And this is why we can’t have nice things – nice things like a final end to the conservative, inherently discriminatory, ruinously bourgeois institution of marriage, which, given the current divorce rate over 50%, is inherently dysfunctional to begin with.

    • I think he’s referring to a state ban on marriage. No state issuance of marriage licenses. The state treats all citizens as individuals. No benefits for married couples. Kin and family is defined only by blood ties.
      Churches, cruise ship captains, rabbis, facebbok, etc. would perform marriages, not the state.

      • thucy

        And there’s your solution, Jurgy:

        Remove marriage entirely from the state. Let us truly separate religion and government, making both stronger, by determining that the ONLY union the state may sanction, whether for gays or straights, is a civil union.

        Let the churches handle marriage, which should not be given the same rights as a civil union by the state.

        The problem with this otherwise salutary solution is that it would deprive the leadership of the LGBT community of a major fundraising impetus. Rich Socarides would automatically be exposed as the schnorrer he really is.

        But the country would be better off cleansed of “marriage” – a dysfunctional, inherently discriminatory institution that has long outlived its function.

      • jurgispilis

        thucy –
        Most all institutions are inherently discriminatory.
        I say the only union a state may sanction is a business union; corporation, limited partnership, etc.
        On a personal level, treat (and tax) all citizens as individuals. The only special consideration is for minor children.
        I know it sounds like communism, but it is time to separate marriage from politics.

        • I’ll be Frank

          I’m certainly in favor of the death penalty for corporations.

          Let of never forget Bhopal, 3 Mile Island, the BP oil spill etc.

  • thucy

    Please ask Professor Levine why it is that the administration’s justice priority is filing “a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional” given that:

    We have a much more urgent and pressing ACTUAL civil rights issue, which is the race-targeted federal “war on drugs”, which insures that black Americans are 10.1 times more likely to be sent to prison for drug offenses, even though White and Black people use drugs at approximately equal rates.

    With unequal prosecution, Black Americans now constitute 56% of people incarcerated for drug crimes, but they’re only 13% of the U.S. population.

    Think this hasn’t devastated entire black neighborhoods? Award-winning journalist and creator of HBO’s “The Wire” describes this as “a holocaust in slow motion.”

    That’s his actual quote: “a holocaust in slow-motion,” supported by the “liberal” President we elected.

    Between 1973 (year zero of drug war) and 2009, the US prison population increased by 705% (yes, seven hundred and five percent). Eugene Jarecki points out: “In 1980, the total U.S. prison and jail population was about 500,000 – today, it is more than 2.3 million.”

    Meanwhile, operating from Planet Elite, LGBT Activist and apparent delusionist Richard Socarides described gay marriage as “the number one civil rights issue of our time.”

    I guess if Mr. Socarides still continues to count black folk as only 3/5 of a legal white citizen, maybe gay marriage is “the number one civil rights issue of our time.” But here on planet hard reality where entire black neighborhoods have been devastated by “Prohibition 2.0”, marriage is largely irrelevant.

  • jurgispilis

    So are you saying the California Constitution is unconstitutional? That doesn’t make any sense. The only way to change the California constitution is with another constitutional amendment. Just like Prohibition.

    What’s this talk about Prop 8? Prop 8 is long dead, and gone. It passed, as a constitutional amendment, and you can read section 7.5 of the California constitution, and see that it says “only a marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in the state of California”. The Supreme Court can’t change that. Just like it couldn’t change Prohibition. There is definitive procedure for altering the state constitution.

  • Kino

    While I am a supporter of same-sex marriage and equal rights, the Federal Administration has absolutely no say in what laws are passed during voter elections at the State level. If Obama is seeking to use his Presidential Administration to battle against a state voter-approved law, then he presumes to have more power than he actually does.

    I agree with the desired end result: same-sex marriage in California being legalized.

    I disagree with Obama muscling himself and his Administration into a State matter.

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