Monday, November 24, 2008

Minorities Fear Loss of Rights at Majority Whim

For some time now I have been saying that the anti-gay constitutional amendments - including Proposition 8 which needed only a simple majority vote - are setting a very dangerous precedent which could come back to harm other minorities - immigrants and religious minorities being others particularly at risk from Christianist orchestrated initiatives. This is particularly true since the Christianist believe that only themselves have rights and that anyone else is subordinate to the Christianists' beliefs. Apparently, some folks are beginning to wake up as reflected in this Reuters story. Too bad more of them did not think of this danger before November 4th. Here are some highlights:
California's gay marriage ban could open the door to legal discrimination against unpopular groups if the state Supreme Court allows the voter-approved measure to stand, blacks, Latinos, Asians and other minorities said.
The November 4 vote, supporting an end to legal same-sex marriage in the most populous U.S. state, has caused a nationwide furor as opponents of the measure decry what they consider a civil rights violation. California's highest court agreed on November 19 to hear a challenge, based on whether the state constitution requires support from the legislature -- as well as a majority vote of the people -- to strip rights from any group.
Legal scholars say the measure, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, breaks new ground by limiting the courts' ability to protect minorities. "They could take away any right from any group," said University of Southern California Law Professor David Cruz, who filed a brief in favor of gay marriage in an earlier case.
"The entire purpose behind the constitutional principle of equal protection would be subverted if the constitutional protection of unpopular minorities were subject to simple majority rule," read a brief by black, Asian and Hispanic groups challenging the ban. "This case is not simply about gay and lesbian equality." . . . . Other groups -- from prisoners to undocumented workers -- might not have public opinion on their side.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I should have voted for Prop 8?

Stephen said...

Other unpopular groups -- like Mormons, who comprise about 2% of the California population. If the California Supreme Court doesn't strike 8 down, I think Mormons should expect to have be the targets of initiatives to discriminate against them.