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George's German quote: Is he saying something wichtig major?

by Jeremy Hooper

So check out this question and answer that CA Supreme Court justice Ronald George gave to Germany's Spiegel Online:

SPIEGEL: If a majority of Californians vote to ban gay marriage in a referendum in November, does your decision lose its meaning? Or are they just overturning the word "marriage?"

Ronald George: If this amendment to the constitution passes, it would prevent gay people from being married, but it would not remove this protection that we put in our analysis. ... We're saying that if you look at a classification of gay people, you must treat it just as if you are classifying on the basis of the color of their skin or their religion. And that is probably the most important thing in the whole ruling, even though the population's attention understandably has mostly been on the "M word" of marriage.

Picture 6-136So what do we find so interesting about this? Well, plenty. For what Mr. George is basically saying is that his court ruled on how gay people are classified in general, not just on their right to marry. And he's saying that even an amendment that specifically bans same-sex marriage wouldn't change the protections that the court has found to be afforded on the basis of sexual orientation. The major -- MAJOR! -- implication of that notion? Well, it seems to us that one could quite logically conclude from it that if it's acceptable to ban one group that, by virtue of the equal protection clause, is entitled to equality, then ALL groups who are guaranteed equality must also be barred. In effect, there is a potential for one to argue that if all people must be equal on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc, then NOBODY can enter into a marriage system that explicitly bans one of those groups.

It may sound like a stretch; but is it? Time (and the potential for a marriage system that sweepingly bans ALL marriages) will tell. In the meantime, we're glad that Mr. George is reminding folks that the Supreme Court's ruling was about much more than marriage -- it was about E-Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y. And regardless of the outcome of this November's unrighteous attempt at tyrannical majority rule and whether or not the ban will be legally free to stifle the equal rights of only one sort of suspect class, the opposition is NEVER going to change the fundamental definition of humanity of which gay people are, were, and will always be a part.


**SEE MORE: For a detailed analysis that hits on some of these points, check out this Daily Kos diary written by Killer of Sacred Cows:

CA Marriage Equality Fight: Ballot Initiative Unlawful, Says Legal Analyst [Kos]

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Your thoughts

To me, this really does sound like a brilliant legal argument. And, at worst, it will be a very interesting case to follow. The Daily Kos is predicting that it will garner a 7-0 victory and crush this initiative into the dust of which it is substantiated, but legal issues are not always as cut and dried as that.

Still, I think that any opponents (especially the likes of Lavy et al.) will be hard pressed to mount a convincing counter argument. Another positive is that it should provide some more entertaining video footage of Lavy foot-fucking his mouth again.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jun 23, 2008 3:17:36 PM

"To me, this really does sound like a brilliant legal argument"

To which argument are you referring, Dick?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 23, 2008 3:26:48 PM

OOPS -- nevermidn, Dick. I read it wrong. I thought you said "DOESN'T sound," not "does sound." Sorry.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 23, 2008 3:31:29 PM

Just a friendly note from a German speaker: hauptsaechlich doesn't really fit here in my opinion--It means major in the sense of first of all or most importantly--like you might start a sentence with it... it's an adverb and so you can't really make it into a nominal phrase... it's like the word "quickly." You can't say "He's saying something quickly" and have quickly function as a noun...

Okay, maybe that's a bad example. Anyway, I think the word you really want is "wichtig"--important.

Posted by: Nancy | Jun 23, 2008 3:54:09 PM

George really gave us everything that we could possibly have hoped for when his court determined that we are a suspect class.

And, as much as we despise and loath the bastards like Dobson, Barber, La Barbera, Lavy and the rest, we probably couldn't have gotten to this point with out their constant foot-on-throat thuggery of a dogma. In some ways we owe those self-proclaimed "pro family" mouth-pieces a great debt of gratitude. Who woulda thunk?

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jun 23, 2008 4:02:47 PM

Thanks for the DKos reference I read the brief myself but not being a lawyer could not really say if the arguments were strong or not. Really appreciate it JH. Sorry don't know German won't go there.
Currently trying to communicate in Spanish with a Brazilian Portuguese speaker. FUN!

Posted by: LOrion | Jun 23, 2008 5:04:59 PM

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