It’s interesting how that works, isn’t it? Abortion, immigration….now same sex marriage. Let us take the case of California Supreme Court cheif justice Ronald George.
After a lifelong career of being a staunch advocate of tough crime legislation and the death penalty for which he received overwhelming conservative acclaim, the jurist has, with one lengthy decision, completely lost his conservative base. I am referring, of course, to the landmark case of Woo v. Lockyer et al. (6 combined cases), the decision which shocked nearly everyone…in most cases happily.
“Absolutely, Ron George should be thrown out for voting for gay marriage,” said Mike Spence, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly. “He has a very radical view of what’s a family.” [sic] Spence said his group and others will formally organize after the November election.
Obviously Mr. Spence has a difficult time understanding the difference between a vote and a decision. The court did not “vote for” gay marriage. They interpreted the state constitution and came to the decision, based on the 1948 Perez v. Sharp decision allowing interracial marriage. Interestingly, the people decrying that decision as “activist” belonged to the same groups that are now frothing against gay marriage. And just as now with interracial marriage… at some point in the future, people will look back in consternation, wondering why the big uproar.
I am somewhat in awe of Justice George. He’s spent his career building his reputation and credibility. It’s sad that, among the people whose support and respect he’s earned over the years, one decision can reverse all of it. At the same time, he faced that unflinchingly and still objectively interpreted the law to a decision that, while he may not personally support it, will bring the greatest amount of freedom to the majority of the people. And that is what our society is supposed to be all about.