The Supreme Court fired a powerful salvo Wednesday, June 26 2013, in the battlefield of same-sex marriage. They also fired a smaller shot that seems to have been overlooked by most parties.
By Jeremy Hopkins, Western Campus
Registered voters in California approved Proposition 8, which was declared unconstitutional before it cleared the polls in 2008, effectively banning same sex marriage in California. In 2010, it was declared unconstitutional by the 9th District Court, and now remains overturned. The decision the Supreme Court offered on this case means that the ball has been kicked back to the states. In an explanation of the opinion of Hollingsworth v. Perry(2013), the court stated that the designation of term “married” applying only to opposite sex couples as the passed by voters in the state remains unconstitutional per the District Court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921, 1004 (ND Cal. 2010).
According to an ABCNews article by Abby D. Phillip and Ariane Devogue, the case was not heard because a group called ProtectMarriage.com (the people who brought the case before the Court) did not have the authority to defend the case. Initially, while the California Supreme Court stated that the proposed bill that would eventually become Proposal 8 was unconstitutional, it was voted on by the people and passed. Later, the District Court overturned it, with the unusual circumstance that the legislators who passed the bill no longer supporting it in court – leading to the ProtectMarriage.com group stepping forward to challenge the District Court’s decision.
By dismissing the Proposition 8 case, the Supreme Court put pressure on the average voter to uphold his or her end of democracy. While the Slip Opinion and Opinion of the Court (found at the Supreme Court’s website, www.supremecourtus.gov) remains difficult to read for those who do not have a legal background, one extremely important thing to remember is that you need to remain registered to vote in your residence county. Why? Because it was the registered voters in California that passed this confusion in the first place.
As the ABCNews article by Phillip and Devogue reported, Justice Antonin Scalia read his dissent from the bench. “There are two parts to the majority’s opinion, the first explaining why this Court has jurisdiction to decide the question, and the second deciding it. Both of them are wrong, and the error in both springs from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this Court in American democratic society.” This statement highlights an important fact: society has a role in the laws passed. Make sure you can exercise your right; stay or get registered to vote. While Ohio currently does not have any legislation defining the term marriage, the possibility that it could means it is important to keep your registration to vote up to date.
On July 17, 2013, any voter who has not voted in the past four years or responded to a Confirmation Notice sent from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will be removed from the rolls of registered voters. This will impact approximately 38,000 names. To check if your name is on this list, head to www.443vote.com. (Check the top left corner of the page to open the list.) If you wish to remain a registered voter, you can fill out a Voter Registration card online or send in a card to the Board of Elections at 2925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. Cards can be found at public libraries, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, many municipal buildings, and here on campus at the Student Life offices.