Splitting an Unsplittable Baby
From the LA Times article on the Prop 8 California Supreme Court hearings:
The California Supreme Court appeared ready today to vote to uphold Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage, but also seemed ready to decide unanimously to recognize existing same-sex marriages.
Yeah, but how? Prop 8 was pretty unambiguous about saying what can be recognized as a marriage in the state of California — namely, only marriages between a man and a woman. If the Supreme Court lets the 18,000 or so existing same sex marriages stand and be recognized as legal, then Prop 8 is pretty much null and void — yes, it prevents any new same-sex marriages in California from happening, but in the meantime those 18K same-sex married couples are walking around still being married, and presumably enjoying all the legal benefits of marriage that California offers; in effect, they’re flipping a big fat bird to the Prop 8 forces, who tried so mightily to kill their marriages and fell short.
Mind you, I’m all for that, as I think Prop 8 is hateful and bigoted and utterly shameful, and if it can’t be knocked off entirely (which I would prefer), better to cut its balls off and make a mockery of it, and bring home the point that it’s not the end of the world to let same sex couples marry. And of course I don’t believe that thousands of people’s existing marriages should be able to be voided just because a bunch of people pulled the “yes, I’m for hateful bigotry!” lever at the polling booth (even if they believed doing so was not, in fact, an act of hateful bigotry). But what I’m wondering is what sort of legal pretzel logic will be employed to on one hand say Prop 8, which denies any state recognition of same-sex couples, is in effect, and on the other hand say that these 18,000 same sex marriages are in fact legal and recognized by the state of California. I’m not seeing how it’s possible. Maybe I’m missing something here. I guess I’ll find out when the Court hands down its final ruling.
I should note that I believe that if the existing California same-sex marriages aren’t voided, then the Prop 8 people have materially lost, since the goal was to block any recognition of same-sex marriage in the Golden State, and because it will be increasingly difficult for its supporters to continue to convince other people that such hateful bigotry is a good idea when thousands of same-sex married couple continue to go peacefully about their lives, doing the unremarkable things that married couples do and making everyone else wonder what they were so panicked about. And I’m fine with that, too.