So in a judgement that probably shocked all of nobody, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision on the question of California’s Proposition 8, which had overturned the state legislature and state court’s finding that marriage was a constitutional right in California and could not be denied to any pair of persons who wanted to get married. It’s been a long strange trail of reversals and reverse-reversals.
Jan 2000: California’s registration of same-sex ‘domestic partnerships’ begins.
Mar 2000: Proposition 22, approved by 61% of CA voters, sets an ‘opposite genders only’ bar to marriage in California.
Feb 2004: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom decides that his city government is going to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Aug 2004: California’s Supreme Court determines Newsom screwed up, and nullifies all 3000-odd marriage licenses issued and (presumably) duly solemnized.
Dec 2004: Federal appeals court hears a case on the matter of Prop 22.
Oct 2007: Governor Schwarzenegger vetoes a same-sex marriage law from the California legislature, saying that the courts need to issue a ruling on Prop 22.
May 2008: CA supreme court determines Prop 22 unlawful, declaring marriage a right guaranteed under the state’s constitution.
Jun 2008: the California Marriage Protection Act (later known as Proposition 8) is first floated before the eyes of the state.
Nov 2008: Prop 8 passes with 52% of the popular vote.
Now here’s where it gets even more annoyingly complicated!
August 2010: 9th Circuit Court Judge Vaughn Walker issues a finding on the matter of Schwarzenegger vs. Perry that calls the matter one of prejudice rather than justice. Appeal is promptly filed by the defendants intervenors (note: Schwarzenegger and the CA justice department refused to defend the law, so the people who came up with Prop 8 chose to represent it in court. This seems a fine point, but it becomes more important later on!).
Feb 2012: 9th Appellate Court agrees with Walker’s findings. Their findings also raise a question regarding whether the defendants-intervenors have authority (or ‘standing’) to defend in this matter, as they are not named parties in the suit.
Jul 2012: Defendants-Intervenors in Schwarzenegger v. Perry file a request that the Supreme Court of the US hear the case.
Dec 2012: SCOTUS announces they’ll be issuing a finding on the case, rather than simply denying the case had any merit.
Mar 2013: Opening arguments in the SCOTUS case regarding the matter.
Jan 26, 2013: A finding is finally issued. However! The finding is not ‘everybody should have the right to marry their partner’, but rather, ‘these defendants-intervenors had no authority here. Case dismissed.’
So where are we now? Prop 8 is no longer a dog that will hunt. Pro-bigotry idiots are claiming they’ll ‘fight it in the lower courts’, ignoring the fact that the US legal system doesn’t work that way. Presumably, same-sex marriage in California will again be the law of the land sometime within the next month.
Right now, I’m just gonna take the tape off my mouth, because… yes, there is no H8.
And that’s what’s new!