Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, June 27, 2008

Novel Issues Involving The Recognition of Gay Marriages

The June 8, 2008 Washington Post ran an interesting article entitled Calif. Battle Over Gay Marriage Raises Novel Legal Questions. It notes that the issue of California gay marriages is being proposed as a constitutional amendment and raises the question what would happen to the thousands who are expected to marry if this amendment actually passes. How's that for a law school hypo??

As the article states:

If the November measure were to pass, we would be entering unprecedented territory," said David B. Cruz, an expert on constitutional law at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "We have never seen a constitutional amendment like this in California that would take away rights that people had already exercised."

The language of the measure does not seem to suggest revoking marriages that take place between June and November, legal experts say. But such a move would depend on the courts' interpretation of the proposed amendment.

Experts say that if the measure passes, the state may choose to recognize the marriages, creating a pocket of married same-sex couples. "It just means that people who didn't take advantage of that window can't get married until or unless that amendment was repealed down the road," said Vikram Amar, a law professor at the University of California at Davis.

Hence the hurry with which couples are booking appointments with wedding vendors and county clerks. San Francisco city officials expect as many as 500 couples to marry per day, for days on end. In Los Angeles County, the clerk's phone is ringing off the hook.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Constitutional Law, Law Review Ideas | Permalink

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Heaven forbid the voters of California take the unprecedented step of stripping a right granted by the courts to a segment of the population. However, should it happen, I think that Romer v. Evans would be controlling precedent. In Romer, the Court struck down a ballot initiative directed at homosexuals. Here, there is a similar scenario. Hopefully, it will not even arrive at this point. California- follow UC's motto 'fiat lux' (translation- let there be light).

Posted by: Sujan Vasavada | Jun 29, 2008 6:38:33 PM

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