If you want a sense of the degree to which politicians in Sacramento are acting on the principle “by any means necessary” in their desire to be rid of Proposition 8, the state’s marriage amendment, and their absolute contempt for the people of the state who approved the amendment, you need look no further than the news from yesterday. It reports that California’s new attorney general filed a brief with the California Supreme Court arguing that only public officials can represent the state in defending marriage laws. Conveniently, the attorney general and governor are not willing to defend the marriage law, so if the AG’s proposal is accepted, there would be no defense of Proposition 8.
The real kick in the story is that the brief filed yesterday is an amicus brief — in other words, the AG was not required to weigh in at all, she just chose to express her opinion that the people who put the proposition on the ballot (and convinced a majority of Californians to adopt it) should not get to have a say in its defense. The legislative leadership also jumped in, defeating a bill that would have made clear that initiative sponsors can defend their laws in court, in a committee vote yesterday. So the ruling political class in California is arrayed against a fair hearing for Proposition 8. Let’s hope the California Supreme Court refuses to go along.
With last week’s news about the effort to keep DOMA from getting a lawyer, one could reasonably ask why some influential people believe marriage doesn’t deserve a defense. Maybe they are less sure of their own position than they seem.