Monday, August 09, 2010

80 Findings of Fact in decision on Prop 8

"Federal Court Judge Walker's soon-to-be famous 80 findings of fact were hard to scan in their original format, so I removed all those annoying (though, no doubt, necessary) citations and have created a friendlier list," writes Adelle Frank. "Walker overturned Proposition 8 because its proponents fail[ed] to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. What did YOU find interesting about these facts?"

This is a must-read. Thank-you, Adelle!

80 Findings of Fact in decision on Proposition 8:
  • Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter.
  • Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil marriage.
  • Religious leaders may determine independently whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship under state law.
  • A person may not marry unless he or she has the legal capacity to consent to marriage.
  • California, like every other state, has never required that individuals entering a marriage be willing or able to procreate.
  • Because slaves were considered property of others at the time, they lacked the legal capacity to consent and were thus unable to marry.
  • After emancipation, former slaves viewed their ability to marry as one of the most important new rights they had gained.
  • Many states, including California, had laws restricting the race of marital partners so that whites and non-whites could not marry each other.
  • Racial restrictions on an individual’s choice of marriage partner were deemed unconstitutional under the California Constitution in 1948 and under the United States Constitution in 1967.
  • An individual’s exercise of his or her right to marry no longer depends on his or her race nor on the race of his or her chosen partner.
  • Under coverture, a woman’s legal and economic identity was subsumed by her husband’s upon marriage. The husband was the legal head of household. Coverture is no longer part of the marital bargain.
  • Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of a division of labor along gender lines. Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others. Women were seen as suited to raise children and men were seen as suited to provide for the family.
  • The development of no-fault divorce laws made it simpler for spouses to end marriages and allowed spouses to define their own roles within a marriage.
  • Continue reading: 80 Findings of Fact in decision on Proposition 8