August 12, 2004


California Supreme Court voids gay marriages in San Francisco, saying mayor overstepped authority (DAVID KRAVETS, August 12, 2004, Associated Press)

The California Supreme Court voided all same-sex marriages sanctioned by San Francisco this year and ruled Thursday that the city's mayor overstepped his authority by issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The court said the city violated the law when it issued the certificates, since both legislation and a voter-approved measure defined marriage as a union between a man and woman.

The justices decided with a 5-2 vote to nullify the nearly 4,000 marriages peformed between Feb. 12 and March 11, when the court halted the weddings.

The hard question for Senator Kerry--the one that can alienate his base--is not how does he feel about gay marriage prospectively but: does he support nullifying the marriages that have already taken place?

Beyond the marriage debate: In 1996, when John Kerry was one of the few U.S. senators to oppose the antigay federal Defense of Marriage Act, he wrote for The Advocate a passionate column on the civil rights struggle for gay and lesbian equality. That article is reprinted here. (Sen. John F. Kerry, September 3, 1996 , The Advocate)

The misnamed and misguided Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is as unconstitutional and unnecessary as it is mean-spirited and malicious. The authors of the bill mistakenly claim that Congress has the authority to allow one state to ignore a legally recognized marriage in another. But the U.S. Constitution is unequivocal on this point: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”

Imagine the confusion if we didn’t have such a clause: A child-custody decision in California could be ignored by Illinois; a divorce concluded in Nevada could be rejected in New York. DOMA does violence to the spirit and letter of the Constitution by allowing the states to divide.

Unconstitutional. Unnecessary. Premature. Presumptuous. What is this debate really about? It seems no coincidence that every election year a few politicians gang together for some legislative gay bashing. This behavior panders to the basest instincts of the human condition--scapegoating and ostracizing.

But we are a better nation than that. Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage. I will not be party to that. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained 30 years ago, “Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married.” This is the essence of the American pursuit of happiness and the core of the struggle for equality.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2004 2:25 PM

Well, he took a position here - but 70% of the voters of MO disagreed. If the figure in OH is the same, Kerry should be happy to remain in MA.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 13, 2004 1:30 AM