In a recent letter to one of your constituents, you made a case for the reasoning behind authoring SR7 in direct violation of the public’s trust. With all due respect, your office has some explaining to do to the Republic of California, for betraying that trust. Our Constitution, which you are sworn to protect and uphold begins with this opening statement:
“We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”
Our Constitution was established by the people of California. The Legislature was established by the people of California, as was the Governorship and the Judiciary. This government was entirely established by the people, and as the Constitution itself states:
“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.”
Your duty and honor as an elected member of the Legislative body is to act as an agent for the voice of the people. You are trusted with the responsibility not only to enact law on behalf of the people, but to also respect law duly enacted by the voice of the people, yet you, in connection with your cohorts in the Legislature, have instead continued to seek to thwart the will of the people, while unscrupulously claiming to uphold it. In your letter, you wrote that proposition 8 was
“…a structural change to the Constitution, rather than an amendment…”
yet you know full well that a revision requires a “substantial change” to the “underlying principles” of the entire constitution. Applying the historic definition for marriage to all citizens equally constitutes a valid amendment. Article 2, Section 8 of the state Constitution clearly sets forth the initiative process as a valid means of amending the Constitution. Codifying the definition of marriage via Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to our state Constitution.
Proposition 8, which supports marriage for all legal adults regardless of distinction, grants access to the institution of marriage for all citizens equally, yet you write that Proposition 8 is not an equal law, but seeks to:
“…eliminate the fundamental right of marriage for a particular minority group on the basis of a suspect classification – sexual orientation….”
This twisted and divisive language attempts to inflame raw emotion rather than expose actual truth. The definition of marriage is applied to all citizens, regardless of race, color or any other division. Just as same-sex individuals may not call their relationship marriage, so heterosexuals may not engage in polygamous relationships and call them marriage. There has never been a fundamental right to change the definition of any word, including marriage.
Claiming that proposition 8 violates, rather than upholds “Equal Protection” for all citizens, you wrote that it
“…would substantially alter our basic governmental plan by eliminating equal protection as a structural check on the exercise of majority power…by permitting majorities to force groups defined by suspect classifications to fight to protect their fundamental rights under the California Constitution…”
You imply that some minority is under attack, yet you know that Proposition 8’s amendment applies the definition of marriage equally, to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and all legal adults. All groups have equal access to marriage regardless of sexual orientation.
To be clear: ANY adult in California can be married regardless of sexual orientation. NO adult in California may call a relationship marriage unless it is an exclusive relationship with another adult of the opposite sex who is not a close relative. Defining marriage does not exclude any group of people, it applies equally for all groups.
Equal Protection under the Constitution requires laws be applied regardless of an individual’s characteristics or situation, just as justice is administered blindly. A modification of the definition of the word marriage to include the actions of one special interest group subverts the idea of equal protection. Proposition 8 as it is written is actually the perfect example of a law that applies equally to all citizens.
In this case, you have not only failed to uphold your oath to the people and the people’s Constitution, but your actions have gone beyond your jurisdiction to even encourage other branches of the government to act in collusion with you in order to thwart the twice declared will of the people. You write that your proposed resolution (SR7) would:
“…put the Senate on record that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper process and should be overturned as an invalid revision to the California Constitution. SR 7 would safeguard the integrity of our constitutionally required checks and balances…”
Far from safeguarding the integrity of our system, in a clear violation of the separation of powers, you are asking the Legislature to tell the Judiciary how to rule. Is attempting to influence the Judiciary “proper process” Senator? This is not in support of the separation of powers, it is in direct violation of the separation of powers; powers given to you by the very people you seek to forcefully disenfranchise with this bill.
This effort is a slap in the face of millions of California’s citizens. Democracy is watching, Senator.
Using this issue to inflame divisions in our state for your own political benefit, witnesses to your closing remarks in the SR7 hearing reported that you went so far as to liken your state’s voters to Germans who supported the Nazi regime prior to World War II!
“It is stunning to hear a California senator compare good, decent Californians to Nazis,” stated Karen England, President of Capitol Resource Institute, who was present at the hearing. “How dare an arrogant senator compare the political battle over homosexual marriage to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Senator Leno should apologize to the millions of voters who supported Proposition 8. And he should stop using such inflammatory, hateful language.
Proposition 8 promotes clarity and equality as a valid constitutional amendment, duly voted in according to law and democratic process. It is not a sleight of hand or twist of semantics aimed at any one group, major or minor. It is an explicit affirmation of marriage as an institution, equally applicable to all Californians regardless of distinctions.
We as Californians are outraged that our lawmakers continue to muddy the issues with inflammatory and inaccurate dramatics, crafted to enrage, divide, and subvert the people’s will in choosing how they are governed. We call on you and all other esteemed lawmakers entrusted with governing our great state, to uphold and support the law of the people.
With All Sincerity,
The People of California