Ken Connor

The California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8 signifies a major victory, not only for the people of California and for proponents of traditional marriage, but for the democratic tradition as well. With Proposition 8—a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman—Californians demonstrated their refusal to be bullied by the bench; they harnessed the power of the ballot box to reverse a flagrant act of judicial activism.

It all began in 2000 when, to eliminate any legal ambiguity, California voters passed Proposition 22, which added a provision to the state civil code explicitly defining marriage as a civil institution between a man and a woman. Governor Schwarzenegger, himself a supporter of gay marriage rights, twice upheld the constitutional validity of Proposition 22 (and thus, the will of the electorate) by vetoing legislative attempts to legalize gay marriage. Sadly, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proved incapable of such restraint. In 2004, he decided that his personal feelings about gay marriage trumped the law and began illegally issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in the city.

Enter the California Supreme Court. It ordered Mayor Newsom to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in violation of current law, but also suggested that supporters of gay marriage seek a remedy by challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 22 in court. Homosexual activists heeded that suggestion and a judicial challenge made its way back to California's highest court. On May 15th, 2008, in an act of blatant judicial activism, the justices declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional, based upon their own definition of marriage and a twisting of the provisions of the California Constitution. Their ruling opened the door for the "marriage" of tens of thousands of gay couples, notwithstanding the clear definition of marriage adopted by the majority of Californians.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.