The L.A. Times has a (sorry, fellas) moronic editorial this morning which begins with this false premise:
IT COULD have been different. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed a bill in 2005 legalizing same-sex marriage instead of vetoing it, the California Supreme Court would have been spared the task of deciding, as it probably will this year, whether a voter-approved ban violates the state Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
When Arnold vetoed the bill, I supported him. Here’s what I said at the time:
I am sympathetic to the concept of same-sex marriage, but I think Schwarzenegger has it just right. This bill clearly conflicts with Proposition 22 (which I voted against), and cannot legally become law without submission to the voters — something the bill does not contemplate. For more, see Dafydd ab Hugh’s earlier post.
Today’s editorial says:
But Schwarzenegger said he had to respect Proposition 22, approved in 2000, which states: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Whether committed same-sex couples will be relieved of second-class status now depends on the state Supreme Court. And as Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer’s ruling notes, the state Constitution trumps any ballot question and entitles same-sex couples to what he called “the last step in the equation: the right to marriage itself.”
But the editorial fails to recognize that, regardless of whether the state Constitution trumps ballot questions, it’s beyond any doubt that ballot initiatives trump legislative acts. (The legal authority for this proposition is provided in the Dafydd ab Hugh post linked above.) In other words, Arnold was exactly right: the legislature can’t repeal ballot initiatives without the voters’ approval, and signing the bill would have been an illegal act that would have led directly to a successful court challenge — or, at a minimum, a consideration of the very state equal protection arguments that the editors claim could have been avoided by signing the bill.
I guess it might be a bit much to expect the editors to understand this. But if they can’t be bothered to understand it, then they shouldn’t write about it.
I know, I know. It never stopped them before.