Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today’s California Supreme Court gay marriage case, finding that such unions are recognized in California, has both direct and indirect significance for many aspects of labor and employment law. Here are just two.
On the direct side, the court ruled that sexual orientation is now a suspect classification under the state equal protection clause. This will work to protect state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
On the more indirect side of things, just think about the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision on same-sex benefits. The passage of the same-sex marriage ban in Michigan was found to prevent governments and universities in Michigan from providing health insurance to the partners of gay workers. California workers will now not have to worry about such absurd developments.
Finally, it is finally great to see that a court of some significance rule what should be clear to everyone: banning same-sex marriage is a per se violation of equal protection. It violates the central tenet of "equal justice under law."
My hope is that some day are descendants will look at our treatment of the LGBT community as something akin to not permitting women the right to vote or the banning of inter-racial marriages.
Hat Tip: Art Leonard