Main | Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Using Gay Marriage To Split California

Split California literally, that is. Duncan Osborne at Gay City News reports that the lawyers backing the litigants in the Smelt case, the one that has caused all the DOJ-DOMA furor, have a master plan other than marriage equality.
The attorney representing two gay men who sued in state court and now in federal court in southern California to win the right to marry hopes the case will spawn a political movement that will result in residents there voting by ballot initiative to divide the state in two. “We’re hoping to use the case in court as a springboard to get a proposition on the ballot that will break up California into two states,” said Richard C. Gilbert, a partner at Gilbert & Marlowe, a law firm with two offices in California. “We think if we can get this proposition on the ballot, we think we’ll win.”

Gilbert said the ideal result would be that all the counties north of Los Angeles would become New California while the southern counties would remain California. Gilbert likened the circumstances of his clients — Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer — to Dredd Scott, who sued for his freedom in the 19th century only to have the US Supreme Court rule in 1857 that no African-American, free or enslaved, could be a US citizen. That decision contributed to the Civil War and Scott was eventually freed. “We don’t want a civil war,” Gilbert said. “We just want to have civil division in our state between people who are willing to respect the rights of all people and those who are not.” Residents of New California, in his view, would be far more amenable to arguments in favor of marriage equality than those in the southern part of the state.
Osborne reports that Freedom To Marry's Evan Wolfson is not pleased. Wolfson says, "I think it is reckless and intolerable to risk bad court rulings through premature and poorly executed litigation putting gay people’s freedom to marry and legal rights at risk for other dubious agendas."

Read Duncan Osborne's entire article

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