Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jerry Brown Reverses Course on Gay Marriage

By Michael A. Lindenberger
TIME Magazine (online)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

With an 111-page legal brief that has surprised legal scholars, Brown reversed course and repudiated his previous statements indicating he'd likely support the legality of Prop 8. Instead, on Friday, he urged the state's Supreme Court to overturn the vote, a move that would infuriate conservatives who are still white-hot mad over the court's historic 4-3 decision that earlier this year prohibited all forms of discrimination against gays, and mandated the state issue marriage licenses to gay couples. In a wide-ranging interview, Brown told TIME that his view of the legal merits of the case had evolved over the past several weeks, and explained why he now thinks the right to gay marriage in California is as fundamental as such bedrock principles as the right to property and to liberty itself.

Rights like that, he came to believe, can't be taken away, at least not by something as simple as constitutional amendment by popular vote. Instead, those rights he said, are "inalienable" in the same sense that the Declaration of Independence speaks of inalienable rights.

Brown said reaction to his position has been mixed, with supporters of gay marriage obviously cheering. Others, he said, have been less excited. But after more than four decades of public life, and no plans to quit anytime soon, Brown seemed to relish the historic significant of the case. "Isn't this what the Federalist Papers were all about? What Madison was after?"

Read the rest here.