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Prop. 8 could be restored as binding law

Posted: July 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.

I’m afraid I have to rain on Kevin Buck’s tirade (“We shall overcome ... some day,” July 16) and dilute it with a few actual facts.

In his column he wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court, in its findings in the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases, bestowed new legal rights on people who want to marry someone of the same sex.

Sorry, Kevin, that’s not at all what happened.

In the DOMA case the court held that it’s up to the states to define marriage, and that the federal government must defer to the states’ definitions. In states where same-sex marriage is legal, it must be recognized as such by the feds. In others, it’s not recognized.

The Prop. 8 case was remanded to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning it’s just as if the case never made it to the Supreme Court at all.

The problem for you, Kevin, is that in every other case decided in every other circuit court going back to 1972’s Baker v. Nelson, all based on the exact same issues, every other circuit court has held that such laws do not raise a substantive federal issue, and they’ve been upheld.

So the Ninth is the only federal circuit court in the country to void such a state definition.

Further, there’s another case working its way up in the Ninth, Sevcik v. Sandoval in Nevada, which is based on exactly the same issues as the Prop 8 case, and in Nevada the state officials are actually doing their jobs — unlike here in California — and defending the law.

That means when the case hits the Supreme Court the justices will actually have to make a decision on the law.
The Baker case is considered the landmark thus far, though.

Meaning same-sex marriage will again be outlawed unless it’s repealed by the voters further down the road.



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