California chief justice says gay marriage ruling was one of his toughest
Posted on May 19, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
SAN FRANCISCO — In the days leading up to the California Supreme Court’s historic gay marriage ruling Thursday, the decision “weighed most heavily” on Chief Justice Ronald M. George — more so, he said, than any previous case in his nearly 17 years on the court.
The court was poised 4-3 not only to legalize gay marriage, but to extend to sexual orientation the same broad protections against bias previously saved for race, gender and religion. The decision went further than any other court in the nation and would stun legal scholars, who have long characterized George and his court as cautious and middle of the road.
But as he read the legal arguments, the 68-year-old moderate Republican was drawn by memory to a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South. There, the signs warning “No Negro” or “No colored,” left “quite an indelible impression on me,” he recalled in a wide-ranging interview Friday.
“I think,” he concluded, “there are times when doing the right thing means not playing it safe.”
Yet he described his thinking on the constitutional status of state marriage laws as more of an evolution than an epiphany, the result of his reading and long discussions with staff lawyers.
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Los Angeles Times – CA,USA
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