Kevin And Don Respond To Being Self Loathing

Looking back at their journey from the Stonewall Democratic Club to Log Cabin Republicans, they claim it was one that was actually started by the democrats. After being told that marriage as not a priority on the agenda in 1995, they became disillusioned with the DEMS. For a decade they felt like they did not belong until they met the republicans of the Log Cabin Republican Club and discovered they too shared a dream of marriage equality. This blog is now a digital time capsule of their time as Republicans and moderated by a friend and supporter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can An Initiative ABOLISH Constitutional Rights?

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Page 7

IN MY OPINION:
Is The Proposed ‘Limit On Marriage’ Initiative Too Late?
By KEVIN NORTE

The recent California Constitutional Right to Marry case, according to my analysis, calls into question the currently proposed “Limit to Marry” Voter Initiative Constitutional Initiative. If Secretary of State Debra Bowen places it on the ballot, she would be wise to have the Legislative Analysts’ opinion consider the following cited cases and also discuss the issue with Attorney General Jerry Brown to inquire whether or not the proposed initiative can even be legally placed on the ballot.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly member Mark Leno, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors, and one of the main attorneys on the winning side of the marriage case, David Codell would be wise to immediately contact Bowen and Brown to raise the issue of the legality of the proposed initiative so that the voters of California are properly informed that there may be a potential problem in enacting the initiative if it passes this November (assuming it qualifies for the ballot).
As noted in McFadden v. Jordan (1948) 32 Cal.2d 330, 333: “The initiative power reserved by the people by amendment to the Constitution in 1911 (art. IV, s 1) applies only to the proposing and the adopting or rejecting of ‘laws and amendments to the Constitution’ and does not purport to extend to a constitutional revision.”

The proposed initiative appears to now attempt to revise the California Constitution to remove the fundamental right to marry and equal protection that gays and lesbians are now afforded under the California Constitution. With that in mind, the Secretary of State must be aware of the following case:
Rippon v. Bowen (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1313:
Article XVIII of the California Constitution allows for amendment of the Constitution by the Legislature, or initiative and revision of the Constitution by the Legislature, or a constitutional convention. There is no other method for revising or amending the Constitution. (Livermore v. Waite (1894) 102 Cal. 113, 117, 36 P. 424 (Livermore).)
“ ‘[A]mendment’ implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it was framed.” (Livermore, supra, 102 Cal. at pp. 118-119, 36 P. 424.) The “revision/amendment analysis has a dual aspect, requiring us to examine both the quantitative and qualitative effects of the measure on our constitutional scheme. Substantial changes in either respect could amount to a revision.” (Raven v. Deukmejian (1990) 52 Cal.3d 336, 350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077 (Raven).) “[A]n enactment which is so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the ‘substantial entirety’ of the Constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing provisions may well constitute a revision thereof. However, even a relatively simple enactment may accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision also.” (Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 223, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281 (Amador).)
According to the In Re Marriage Cases (May 15, 2008) 2008 WL 2051892: “Although our state Constitution does not contain any explicit reference to a “right to marry,” past California cases establish beyond question that the right to marry is a fundamental right whose protection is guaranteed to all persons by the California Constitution.... In light of the fundamental nature of the substantive rights embodied in the right to marry — and their central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society — the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation. “

The proposed initiative originally sought to limit the Constitutional right to marry to opposite sex couples and, thus as originally drafted, it was intended to limit the right to marry to a man and a woman. But an amendment can no longer accomplish this. The Right to Marry exists and in light of the recent ruling, the initiative’s unintended consequence is an attempt to revise (as opposed to amend) the Constitution which, as explained in In Re Marriage Cases (May 15, 2008) 2008 WL 2051892, is a fundamental Constructional right to “all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation.”
“Whether an initiative constitutes an amendment or revision to the Constitution does not necessarily depend on the number of constitutional provisions it affects, but on the nature of the changes it makes. (Grodin et al., The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide, supra, at pp. 303-304.) For a revision to be found, “it must necessarily or inevitably appear from the face of the challenged provision that the measure will substantially alter the basic governmental framework set forth in our Constitution.” See California Assn. of Retail Tobacconists v. State of California (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 792, 833-834.
As Justice Moreno noted in a concurring opinion in Californians For An Open Primary v. McPherson (2006) 38 Cal.4th 735, 788:
Voters can propose amendments to the Constitution that will be placed on the ballot if the requisite number of signatures are obtained, but they may not propose constitutional revisions. (See Cal. Const., art. XVIII, § 3; Raven v. Deukmejian (1990) 52 Cal.3d 336, 349, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077.)
See California Assn. of Retail Tobacconists v. State of California (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 792, 833-834:
Although the electorate may amend the Constitution by initiative (art. XVIII, § 3), a revision of the Constitution may be accomplished only by a constitutional convention and popular ratification (art. XVIII, § 2) or by legislative submission of the measure to the electorate (art. XVIII, § 1). (Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 349, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 221, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.)
It has been suggested “the revision provision is based on the principle that ‘comprehensive changes’ to the Constitution require more formality, discussion and deliberation than is available through the initiative process. [Citation.]” (Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 349-350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; cf. Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 506, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.)
The revision/amendment analysis requires the court “to examine both the quantitative and qualitative effects of the measure on our constitutional scheme[, as] [s]ubstantial changes in either respect could amount to a revision. [Citations.]” (Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 350, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 506, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.)
Whether an initiative constitutes an amendment or revision to the Constitution does not necessarily depend on the number of constitutional provisions it affects, but on the nature of the changes it makes. (Grodin et al., The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide, supra, at pp. 303-304.) For a revision to be found, “it must necessarily or inevitably appear from the face of the challenged provision that the measure will substantially alter the basic governmental framework set forth in our Constitution. [Citations.]” (Legislature v. Eu, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 510, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.)

Therefore, Schwarzenegger, Bowen, Leno and Newsome should use their constitutional powers to obtain an opinion of the Attorney General as to whether the initiative is an amendment or a revision that would revise the fundamental right to marry as it applies to same gender couples because it would remove that right for them and deny gays and lesbians equal protection as it applies to that fundamental right.
(The writer is a research attorney for the Los Angeles Superior Court and has been with the Court since 1991. Norte is currently assigned to Judges Ronald Sohigian and Gregory Alarcon.)

AUTHOR’S POST NOTE- The George Court has already determined that pre-election review is not precluded when the challenge is based upon a claim that the initiative may not properly be submitted to the voters because it amounts to a constitutional revision rather than an amendment. (Independent Energy Producers Assn. v. McPherson (2006) 38 Cal. 4th 1020, 1029 (unanimous decision & opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald George).)
“What should a local government do if it believes an initiative measure is unlawful and should not be presented to the voters? (Save Stanislaus Area Farm Economy v. Board of Supervisors (1993)13 Cal.App.4th 141, 149.) A governmental body, or any person or entity with standing, may file a petition for writ of mandate, seeking a court order removing the initiative measure from the ballot. (See Farley v. Healey[] [(1967)] 67 Cal.2d [325,] 327, 62 Cal.Rptr. 26, 431 P.2d 650.) But such entity or person may not unilaterally decide to prevent a duly qualified initiative from being presented to the electorate.