Now Let Me Welcome Everybody to the Wild, Wild West
California's supreme court has overturned the state ban on gay marriage.
The case involved a series of lawsuits seeking to overturn a voter-approved law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
With the ruling, California could become the second state after Massachusetts where gay and lesbian residents can marry.
Andrew Sullivan is breaking down the decision.
One key fact: the ruling takes effect in 30 days—which means thousands of couples will be able to marry long before any initiative attempts to reverse it. So the initiative question becomes: do you want to divorce thousands of already-married couples? Or do you want to keep things as they now are? That's a big advantage for the pro-equality forces.
Politically, I suppose this is bad news for the Democrats, but not nearly as much as in 2004. For one, it's not coming out of a candidate's home state. (How lucky was John Kerry to come from Massachusetts in the year of Goodridge?) For another, John McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment: He can't demagogue this, and he won't. And finally, the issue's simply becoming less volcanic as the issue is normalized. The way things are going, Mitt Romney will be leading a pro-gay marriage campaign by 2016 or so.
UPDATE: DOMA author Bob Barr chimes in:
Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions or not ought to be a power each state exercises on its own, rather than imposition of a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government (as would be required by a Federal Marriage Amendment which has been previously proposed and considered by the Congress). The decision today by the Supreme Court of California properly reflects this fundamental principle of federalism on which our nation was founded.
Indeed, the primary reason for which I authored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was to ensure that each state remained free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and not be forced to adopt a definition of marriage contrary to its views by another state. The decision in California is an illustration of how this principle of states' powers should work.
That's why he wrote DOMA? Hrm.