Those who would defend Proposition 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court — whether special attorneys appointed by the state, the California attorney general or those who sponsored the initiative itself — have no standing, as I see it.
Proposition 8 provided for a ban on same-sex marriage. None of its defenders was able to demonstrate just how same-sex marriage hurts them. The best they could do was "you can't redefine marriage."
If proponents of Proposition 8 disapprove of same-sex marriage for what they deem religious or moral reasons, they can vow to marry a person of the opposite sex and urge others to do the same. But what business is it of theirs who other people marry?
If two neighbors of theirs marry despite their disapproval, how does this harm them? Sure, they will no longer be able to consider themselves superior — in other words, their condemnation of gays will not be endorsed by law.
UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky is clear and concise with his point on California's leaders deciding not to defend the opinion of the majority of voters. The initiatives we pass deserve to be defended in court.
His idea of appointing a special attorney seems sound and should be considered.
More broadly, I wonder if Chemerinsky has any ideas on how to change our initiative process to bring it back to a more grass-roots system. It seems to not be working the way it was intended.
Why are clearly unconstitutional propositions not stopped at their initiation? Allowing a vote to be held forces a confrontation between the "will of the people" and the Constitution.
History demonstrates that the will of the people has been used to justify slavery, segregation and male-only voting. Wouldn't a system that stops these propositions save time, money and frustration?
Marla S. Knutsen
Chemerinsky makes a valid point about Proposition 8 supporters being denied the opportunity to argue their case in court.
But he leaves out an important point: Proposition 8 supporters have the same power they have always had. They passed an initiative by popular vote, and they can remove those politicians they disagree with by popular vote.
Their real problem is they lost those voters. Most Californians now support same-sex marriage, including many who voted for Proposition 8.