Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Speaking of civil rights, (I was just speaking of them a couple of posts ago), this was a really helpful article for understanding the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case being heard right now in the California courts. The plaintiffs hope to overturn the ban on gay marriage in California.  It will likely be argued eventually in the Supreme Court and although the defense is having trouble coming up with any compelling arguments besides “it has always been this way” and “marriage is for procreation”, it is still really unclear which way the (supreme) court will rule. Below is an excerpt that I particularly enjoyed, but I definitely recommend reading the whole article.

*** “Cooper will argue that California indeed has a rational interest in upholding “procreative marriage.” As Cooper told the Judge at a pretrial hearing, in October, the traditional definition of marriage has “prevailed in every civilized society throughout the ages” and “still prevails everywhere in the world, with the exception of five American states, and seven foreign countries.” (Since then, Portugal has become the eighth country to legalize gay marriage.) With Proposition 8, Cooper said, California voters merely defended that tradition. A court, therefore, “should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant, or bigoted.” At the heart of the case “are two competing conceptions of the institution of marriage, and of its central purpose,” Cooper declared.We say that the central and the defining purpose of marriage is to channel naturally procreative sexual activity between men and women into stable, enduring unions for the sake of begetting, nurturing, and raising the next generation. Plaintiffs say that the central and constitutionally mandated purpose of marriage is simply to provide formal government recognition to loving, committed relationships.”

Already, this procreative definition of marriage has led to some puzzled questioning by Judge Walker, and some peculiar exchanges, like this one, at the pretrial hearing:

THE COURT: The last marriage that I performed, Mr. Cooper, involved a groom who was ninety-five, and the bride was eighty-three. I did not demand that they prove that they intended to engage in procreative activity. Now, was I missing something?
MR. COOPER: No, your Honor, you weren’t. Of course, you didn’t.
THE COURT: And I might say it was a very happy relationship.
MR. COOPER: I rejoice to hear that.

1 Response to “Perry v. Schwarzenegger”

  1. 1 Pam
    January 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Was this in The New Yorker? I love the judge’s comments. What bogus arguments!

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