Understanding the Impending Prop 8 Case
May 14, 2009
Everyone is anticipating the California Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 - the constitutional amendment passed by voters in November to foreclose the opportunity for marriage for same-sex couples. The decision is only days or weeks away so I wanted to get a perspective on the legal issue at hand so we're ready to understand what the court decides. HRC's Legal Director and Chief Legislative Counsel Lara Schwartz came up with this fantastic analogy that really cleared it up for me:
Voters can make minor changes to the California constitution through initiatives. Major changes require a longer process. It helps to think about this in terms of renovating your home. If you want to paint your house, you just go to the store and select a color, then paint. But if you want to add on to, structurally change, or even demolish your house, you need to get a permit, and typically the work gets done by a licensed professional. Why? Because when you're dealing with the bearing walls and the structure, you need to take care with what you're doing, or the whole thing can tumble down. And people can get hurt. It's the same with a constitution- through the initiative process, you can embellish and clarify, but you can't move a bearing wall, not without a deliberative process.
May 24, 2013