Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Courts, The Legislature and The People 

When the Massachusetts SJC issued the Goodridge opinion and set the stage for the upcoming issuing of marriage licenses to gay couples, opponents of the decision cried foul. The court was accused of attempting to usurp the role of the legislature and of imposing its will on the people.

Now that the issue of gay marriage is working its way through the courts in California, there seems to be a different opinion of the role of the courts. A California assembly committee has approved a bill which would define marriage as being between "two persons." Opponents now say the legislature should not be taking up the issue, but it should be decided by the courts, so as not to offend the will of the people. From Advocate.com:

Opponents of the bill said it would contradict the will of the voters, who passed Proposition 22 in 2000, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "This is something that should be decided in the courts before it ever comes here," said Assemblywoman Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), who voted against the measure. "I think it trivializes the will of the people."

For an insightful article on the California initiative process, check out this entry from California Justice William W. Bedsworth's blog, A Criminal Waste of Space.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:03 AM