Hmm. Governor Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Brown have declined to appeal the decision striking down Prop 8. Yay.
The Attorney General shall attend the Supreme Court and prosecute or defend all causes to which the State, or any State officer is a party in his or her official capacity.
I’m no lawyer. I have no idea what the hell that entails, or whether the Pacific Justice Institute is correct. Unfortunately, when I turn to a group like Equality California, I find something this statement:
This is an outrageous attempt to try and force elected officials who have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution to defend a law that the Federal Court has found to be unconstitutional. It demonstrates their acknowledgment that the proponents of Proposition 8 lack standing to appeal, that the case should be dismissed and loving same-sex couples should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to marry.
See, that’s messed up. Yeah, a Federal Court judge has found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional (yay!). But we know he’s not the final word on the issue. And we know that if Judge Walker had ruled against us, Equality California wouldn’t be acting like Walker is the be-all and end-all of Constitutional law. I wish Equality California had directly addressed the claims made by the Pacific Justice Institute.
Even the Courage Campaign, for whom I now write, is making me uncomfortable:
With California laying off teachers, police and firefighters amidst an unprecedented budget crisis, it is the height of hypocrisy for so called ‘conservatives’ to demand that California taxpayers foot the bill to defend a discriminatory law that has already been declared unconstitutional in federal court. This frivolous action shows just how out of touch and desperate those who seek to limit the freedoms of loving American families have become.
I see two issues here:
- There’s a legal issue, which I’m entirely unqualified to speak to.
- There are the responses from Equality California and the Courage Campaign, which don’t seem to attempt to address the legal issues involved.
Here’s the thing. You can’t just shift your reasoning and rhetoric to accommodate what you want. We are a principled people. All I really want to know is this: Is the Pacific Justice Institute correct in saying that Government Code Section 12512 requires Schwarzenegger and Brown to appeal the Prop 8 ruling?
That’s what our advocacy groups should focus on. The answer doesn’t depend on what we would like the governor and attorney general to do. And I have to say I’d be disappointed that groups on our side, devoted to civil equality, are approaching it any other way.
Anyway, I’ve referred this to lawyer friends of mine. I’ll get back to you. And I’ll be happy — even eager – to apologize publicly if I’m off base.
UPDATE: It looks like the Pacific Justice Institute’s lawsuit to compel Schwarzenegger and Brown to defend Prop 8 is a moot point. PJI’s lawsuit was summarily dismissed.
Still, I do wish the spokespeople of the big gay groups had responded a bit more to the legal issue instead of just sending out rhetoric.
In any case, yay.