Supreme Court examination of Proposition 8 sparks debate

Alex Mowrey

Graphic by Alex Mowrey

Juliana Segura, Rocket Contributor
March 28, 2013

The United States Supreme Court started examining what could arguably be considered as one of the biggest court cases since Brown v. The Board of Education on Tuesday.

A recent issue that has garnered major national attention is the issue of Proposition 8, a ballot casted in November of 2008 to initiate California to ban same-sex marriage along with the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

Before this proposition was passed, “California was given the fair and equal right to equality of marriage, regardless of sexuality,” according to junior music and psychology major and RockOUT president Kristopher Hawkins.

This has caused mixed reactions to many people worldwide because this could ban rights to Americans for same-sex marriage at the state level.

“People in California voted 52.4 percent in favor of Prop 8, banning all recognitions and rights to marriage for same-sex couples.  As of February of 2012, the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, declared Prop 8 unconstitutional,” said Dr. Catherine Massey, associate professor of psychology and co-chair of the President’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

In December 2012, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to hear the case from proponents who requested they view the case after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition to rehear the case.

Hawkins, 21, described Proposition 8 to be a huge ordeal because, “this is a ballot measure created at the state level, so it’s federal appeal in the Supreme Court means they are presiding over a state court decision which is always controversial.”

“Same-sex marriage does not intertwine with rights of heterosexual marriage nor change it, but it will allow two people of the same sex who love each other to have rights and protection of their marriage,” Massey said.

The topic of same-sex marriage is one that has become particularly a hot-button issue

By Juliana Segura

Rocket Contributor

The United States Supreme Court started examining what could arguably be considered as one of the biggest court cases since Brown v. The Board of Education on Tuesday.

A recent issue that has garnered major national attention is the issue of Proposition 8, a ballot casted in November of 2008 to initiate California to ban same-sex marriage along with the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

Before this proposition was passed, “California was given the fair and equal right to equality of marriage, regardless of sexuality,” according to junior music and psychology major and RockOUT president Kristopher Hawkins.

This has caused mixed reactions to many people worldwide because this could ban rights to Americans for same-sex marriage at the state level.

“People in California voted 52.4 percent in favor of Prop 8, banning all recognitions and rights to marriage for same-sex couples.  As of February of 2012, the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, declared Prop 8 unconstitutional,” said Dr. Catherine Massey, associate professor of psychology and co-chair of the President’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

In December 2012, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to hear the case from proponents who requested they view the case after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition to rehear the case.

Hawkins, 21, described Proposition 8 to be a huge ordeal because, “this is a ballot measure created at the state level, so it’s federal appeal in the Supreme Court means they are presiding over a state court decision which is always controversial.”

“Same-sex marriage does not intertwine with rights of heterosexual marriage nor change it, but it will allow two people of the same sex who love each other to have rights and protection of their marriage,” Massey said.

The topic of same-sex marriage is one that has become particularly a hot-button issue in recent years. In most cases, many countries are supportive of same-sex marriage.

“If we are leaders of the free world, why don’t we have same-sex rights extended to all Americans, not those just of heterosexual orientation?” Massey questioned.

Though Prop. 8 was initially passed in California and later deemed unconstitutional, it is the Supreme Court’s decision to determine whether Proposition 8 is constitutional or not.

According to Massey, the Supreme Court could potentially rule five different decisions.

For starters, they could rule marriage is a constitutional right to all Americans, or rule marriage is not a constitutional right for Americans. Additionally, the Court could also rule that states that recognize same-sex unions or domestic partnerships must provide them with same benefits of marriage and cannot ban same-sex marriage. This ruling could either apply exclusively to California or to all states. Lastly, the Supreme Court could dismiss the entire case ruling Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

“This battle is not just about legal rights or tax breaks, this battle is about not treating our neighbors as second class citizens,” Hawkins said. “It is about legalizing love and justly recognizing same-sex relationships as legitimate in the eyes of the law.”

Making this a huge controversial issue is the idea that there are two sides to the story. Many are supportive of same-sex marriage, while some others are not supporters for various reasons.

For junior biology major Lucas Gregor, 23, same-sex marriage goes against his religious beliefs.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” Gregor said. “It states in the Bible and it is how I was born and raised.”

As a member of the President’s Commission on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, and the Coordinator of the Safe Zone program, Massey said she has a lot of strong feelings on the topic of Proposition 8. She said she feels that Proposition 8 does, in fact, violate people’s rights.

“It takes away legal rights that same-sex couples should have, not just straight couples,” Massey said.

If the Supreme Court deems Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, it will eventually lead to other appeals by states with same-sex marriage bans. In this case, it is the largest step that the gay and lesbian movement has made in the fight for equal rights.

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