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Great article: Prop 8, Gay Marriage, Can the government repeal YOUR marriage?

(excerpt from) Los Angeles Times
The law and Prop. 8
California’s Supreme Court will have to untangle two important legal questions.

By Goodwin Liu
November 10, 2008

Is Proposition 8 the last word on same-sex marriage in California? A debate that started this year in the state Supreme Court met its latest verdict at the ballot box Tuesday. But in the coming months, the issue will be back in front of the court, which has to sort through two important legal questions.

…its opponents filed a legal challenge, claiming Proposition 8 should be invalidated because it was not enacted under the proper procedures for changing the state Constitution…

Nevertheless, there are good reasons for the California Supreme Court to rethink its jurisprudence in this area. Even if Proposition 8 does not “substantially alter the basic governmental framework,” there is no question that it targets a historically vulnerable group and eliminates a very important right…

The second question is whether Proposition 8 means the state must nullify the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriage licenses issued in recent months. ..

Why does it matter whether gay couples remain married in a post-Proposition 8 world? One answer has to do with the dignity and stature that marriage confers. Even if marriage provides no greater rights than domestic partnership, a separate-but-equal regime unavoidably signals that same-sex relationships are of lesser worth.

Another answer has to do with the future of gay marriage writ large. Gay marriage is in the cross-hairs of a culture war, and culture wars, both sides know, are won through symbols, examples and personal experiences that shape one’s worldview…

Proposition 8 may then come to be viewed, in the long run, not as an enduring constitutional principle but as the will of a narrow and ultimately temporary majority.

Author Goodwin Liu is associate dean and professor of law at UC Berkeley.

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