On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued two decisions in regards to LGBT Rights. One of them was in regards to California's Proposition 8.
In 2008, California passed a law allowing for same-sex marriages to be preformed within the state. At this time, only Massachusetts was the other state where same-sex marriages were preformed. However, those against the idea were able to place a ballot initiative that would change the California State Constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman. As highlighted in the documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition, the Yes on 8 campaign received A LOT of support from the Mormon Church based in Salt Lake City, UT.
Election Night 2008 is remembered for two things....
"Barack Obama is projected to be the next President of The United States of America."
- Keith Olbermann, 10 PM (CT) 4 November 2008
Yes, it's true. Keith Olbermann worked for MSNBC. And Current TV. And Fox Sports. And ESPN. And CBS 2 in Los Angeles. And CNN.
Well, here is hoping his upcoming gig with TBS works out.
What followed was about 4 years of litigation before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments and released its decision.
The 5-4 decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013) ruled that the petitioners did not have standing in the case. The state of California refused to take part in the litigation, but the proponents of Prop 8 were willing to take the case.
If you wish to read the opinion you are more than welcome to as it contains a lot of references to Article III and the question of standing.
But SCOTUSBlog has the plain English explanation from their live blogging event (scroll down to 10:40):
Here's a Plain English take on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage: After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justices Alito, Thomas, and Sotomayor.
Now that is a weird 5-4 line up.... but so was last year's ObamaCare decision where Chief Justice Roberts joined with the court's 4 liberal leaning members.
In other words, it was a narrow ruling that only impacted California. While I would have preferred that the court issued a wide ruling declaring that such bans of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, I expected that the court would go with a narrow ruling based on what I have read and heard. The court kicked it back down to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case.
On Friday, the Ninth Circuit issued this one sentence judgment:
"The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately."
And the two couples involved in the Prop 8 litigation were seen on television getting married.
And here is the first live wedding on The Rachel Maddow Show
But alas, the opposition has asked the Supreme Court to intervene and filed an emergency stay to halt these marriages. Good news is that Justice Anthony Kennedy told them to take a hike.
To the opposition: You lost. Get over it.
Congrats to the all the gay couples in California. You've earned it.