California Voters Had Their Chance, Won't Vote Again On Gay Marriage

In California there's been talk of putting marriage equality on the ballot again in 2012. Polls show the country has grown more tolerant of gay marriage since 2008, when Proposition 8 passed, but most activists would rather let the Supreme Court vote on the issue than see another ugly battle in the state.

The New York Times reports that Equality California has held about a dozen town-hall-styles meetings in the past month to discuss whether or not the issue should be put before citizens again in 2012. Some believe voters may overturn Proposition 8 this time because, as shown in one recent poll, 53% of Americans now say gay unions should be legal. They also think President Obama's re-election campaign might bring out more younger voters in 2012, but most are unwilling to pin their hopes for marriage equality on the President's ability to rouse voters again.

The argument against another vote centers on how the measure could affect the federal case, which will go before the Supreme Court this year. Vaughn R. Walker of the Federal District court already found Proposition 8 unconstitutional, but the now-retired judge's decision has been challenged. Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear a motion to invalidate Walker's decision. He's gay, you see, and therefore incapable of doing his job. Clearly it's only fair to have excusively-heterosexual judges rule on whether Proposition 8 is constitutitonal. Another concern is that a new vote could encourage conservative groups to mobilize voters for 2012, threatening issues like immigration rights and the death penalty, which may be on the ballot.

For now, the fight for marriage equality has shifted focus to other states like Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and New York, which require smaller and cheaper campaigns. Another vote in California may be impractical this year, but some people say they're through with waiting to see how the long legal battle pans out. Serafine Simien, a lesbian mother who attended an Equality California meeting in Sacramento, says, "Honestly, I am tired of begging to have someone accept me."

Same-Sex Vote Unlikely In California [NYT]