After a singularly frustrating day, some of the best news I’ve heard in months: San Francisco Superior Court judge Richard Kramer ruling that “the state’s 28-year-old law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is arbitrary and unfair.”
“No rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.”
Well, duh. I’ve been begging someone to give me a rational, non-faith-based reason why a government should care about the sex of marriage partners for months, and still haven’t heard one.
A discriminatory law “cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional,” Kramer said. He said the same argument was made and rejected in 1948, when the California Supreme Court became the first in the nation to strike down a state ban on interracial marriage.
It’s a great day for humans, though we should be sober enough to realize that the ruling could be struck down in the future.
What I don’t get is where the “activist judges” epithet comes from. Is it not the role of a judge to interpret law when existing laws or constitutions leave it unclear? Kramer is not making laws, nor is his analysis of the constitution out of bounds with reason. Yes, the people voted in Prop. 22 that marriage was to be opposite-sex. But Prop. 22 is unconstitutional. The people enacted a law that goes against a more fundamental law of the land. Judge Kramer is not being “activist” — he’s making clear that the people must change the constitution if that’s what they want — they can’t simply enact laws that contravene it. Where exactly is the “activism” here?
One small step at a time. Someday we’ll wonder why this ever seemed controversial.