Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Lesbian CA SC Jurist Corrigan & Prop 8 Case

Last year, the outing, if you can call it that, of California Supreme Court justice Carol Corrigan, was a definite yawner. No one on either side of the gay marriage debate cared much that the LA Daily News, in an opinion column, claimed her a member of the LGBT community:

Certainly the first line of Associate Justice Carol Corrigan's obituary will be that, as a lesbian, she wrote one of the two dissenting opinions in the landmark California Supreme Court case to ensure her own community's right to marry. Or to be clear, to use the word "marry." Make no mistake, this case is about that word: "marriage."

In her dissent in re Marriage Cases, self-proclaimed centrist Corrigan writes, "Californians should allow our gay and lesbian neighbors to call their unions marriages. But I, and this court, must acknowledge that a majority of Californians hold a different view, and have explicitly said so by their vote. This court can overrule a vote of the people only if the Constitution compels us to do so. Here, the Constitution does not. Therefore, I must dissent."

While she was criticized for voting to uphold Prop 22, the Knight Initiative, her status as a lesbian American really wasn't part of the public debate after the court ruled to overturn that measure. Click here to read my post from last May that looked at the public record and questions related to Corrigan's sexual orientation, and, any impact that may have on her judicial outlook.

Since that time, nothing appeared in print or on the web about Corrigan being a lesbian and the matter of gay equality and Prop 8, except for a Yes on 8 opinion piece in the conservative Jewish Journal, which made the following well-known point:

Corrigan also happens to be a lesbian, who would personally like to see same-sex marriage become the law of the land.

With the eyes of the nation focusing in like nuclear lasers on the Supreme Court and what will transpire in the San Francisco court room, I expected to see something out in the blogosphere about our sister on the court and what her questions and comments may tell us about how she may rule in the Prop 8 matter. Or just the fact that there's a lesbian on the court, and it's thanks to Gov. Schwarnzegger who appointed her. Googling turned up nothing. Maybe the silence is a step forward for normalizing how we view jurists who are lesbian.

Hey, Carol. This time around, make amends for your dissent in 2008 and stand on the right side of history. Lift the ban on gay marriage in California!

(Photo credit: Paul Sakuma, AP.)

2 comments:

Robin McGehee said...

Right ON Michael - Make her earn her keep. I hope she remembers that representing the "people" does not mean she is OWNED by those "people" - but, more importantly that she should be representing ALL people!

Peter McQuaid said...

She's not representing the people, if she's representing anything, it's the state Constitution. I do find it curious that her position defers to the will of the voters since that has seldom been a consideration in civil rights rulings. Hell, if the courts deferred to the will of the voters in civil rights, most black people would still be considered property.

Whether the court rules in our favor or not, this battle is far from over and it's going to get a lot meaner. Count on it.