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Outside Voices: Tests await marriage ban

Sacramento Bee, May 27: For the third time in five years, the California Supreme Court ruled Tuesday on the question of same-sex marriage. This time, the court upheld the voters’ right to limit the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman.

As painful as it might be to accept the court’s decision today, in the long run, it might be for the best.

Public opinion polling suggests a generation gap exists on the question of marriage. Generally speaking, older people tend to oppose gay marriage while younger people tend to be more supportive. Many young people we know have grown up in a world where sexual orientation is hardly an issue, and denying gays the right to marry seems downright strange to them.

And whether it happens next year or later, we’re confident that, one day soon, Proposition 8 will be repealed.

Los Angeles Times, May 27: The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 was as expected as it was crushing to same-sex couples and those who support their right to marry.

Yet the campaign supporting equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians is far from a total failure. It sparked a necessary if testy national conversation that almost certainly contributed to new marriage rights for same-sex couples in several other states over the last few months, and the possibility of laws that would do the same in three more, including New York. The court’s decision invites supporters of equal marriage to try again, this time at the ballot box. In fact, given the strongly held opinions among their opponents, it’s likely that attempts to grant and revoke marriage rights for gays will become an ongoing, expensive and wearying battle of initiatives for years to come.

Washington Post, May 27: The judges of the California Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that they can be overruled by the people of their state. That’s the import of their 6 to 1 decision upholding Proposition 8, which bars same-sex marriage.

This same court ruled in May 2008 that the state’s constitution required recognition of same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, three of the four justices who had originally ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nonetheless agreed with the three dissenters in the original case that Proposition 8 should stand. This outcome suggests that those challenging the legality of Proposition 8 had the weaker legal case, however wrongheaded the amendment’s content. As the court found, those challenging the proposition, including private plaintiffs and state Attorney General Jerry Brown, essentially complained “that it is just too easy to amend the California Constitution through the initiative process.” That’s probably true, but, as the court noted, the people of California are free to adopt a flawed system.

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