Tuesday, March 4, 2008

296 days and counting...

As has been reported in the news, today the California Supreme Court heard oral argument over a constitutional challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The arguments lasted three hours, and it seems that all sides received tough questioning from the justices.

Interestingly, it was up to the office of California attorney general, Jerry Brown, to defend the same-sex marriage ban. I would guess Brown considers himself a progressive and most likely personally is not opposed to gays marrying, but hey, a lawyer has to do his job. (When Thurgood Marshall was Solicitor General of the United States, he also had to argue before the US Supreme Court against positions that would have advanced gay rights, as in the 1967 case of Boutilier v. INS.)

Much of the coverage has included the fact that the California Supreme Court has 90 days to render a decision. I suppose that might put the litigants in the California case in a better position than the litigants in Kerrigan & Mock et al v. Connecticut Department of Public Health. That's the case that Connecticut's Supreme Court heard on May 14, 2007 which also seeks to gain marriage rights for same-sex couples.

After 296 days of waiting, it is still anybody's guess when the Connecticut court will hand down their decision. At this point, I would not be surprised if they wait until after the presidential election. But it doesn't really matter since the California cases will be decided in 90 days, thereby making "gay marriage" political fodder for another presidential election cycle. And lest we forget, none of the major candidates for the Oval Office, neither McCain, Clinton, nor Obama, support same-sex marriage. Thank God love conquers all, including presidential politics and the law.

Or so I like to think...


Anonymous said...

I didn't know about California!? How is that possible?

You also know that Corzine is just waiting for the elections to occur in November and then wants a marriage equality bill on his desk to sign.

Good news.

Glory to the Union said...

Effective January 1, 1989, the California Supreme Court adopted the court policy under which every case has to be decided 90 days after submission at oral argument. At the end of oral argument, the chief justice declares, "the case stands submitted." That is when the 90-day rule comes into play. There are rare instances where the chief can "vacate" a case and set a new decide by date.
(Thanks to the California Supreme Court Historical Society for the info.)