This is big. Attorney General and former Governor of California Jerry Brown says prop 8 is invalid. Yesterday Brown filed a legal brief claiming the same-sex marriage ban, which would amend the California Constitution to include discrimination and gays and lesbian couples, "is itself unconstitutional because it deprives a minority group of a fundamental right."
Why is this so dramatic? Basically, Jerry Brown's job is to defend the state's laws. But he was in a tricky position because prop 8 might violate the constitution. So, which one should he defend? The equal protection clause or prop 8? It seems like an easy decision to us -- you have to defend equal protection; it would be nuts if the state suddenly turned against its decades of support for nondiscrimination laws.
Then again, it's a messy, complex issue that is beyond radioactive, politically speaking. The people who want to limit equal protection will argue that this isn't fair; that Brown is ignoring the will of the voters in the last election, and that they deserve to have prop 8 defended. However, there are loads of other lawyers ready to defend prop 8. And Jerry is defending the will of the voters -- fifty years' worth of will that is plainly evident in California's pioneering protection of civil equality.
Brown, we should point out, is also thinking about making a run for the governor chair. Again.
That said, we haven't been this proud of the state of California since the election. Way to go, Golden State.
Image: official portrait of Jerry Brown as Governor of California, from the California State Capitol Museum. Painted by Don Bachardy.of course