In the week since California voters approved Proposition 8, much has been written about the religion of those who promoted the measure, about the race and ethnicity of those who voted for it, and even a bit about the age of those who voted against it. Oddly, the marital status of voters has been a seldom mentioned footnote to all the above. This is odd since it was a measure regarding marriage.
According to exit polling posted at CNN’s website, 60% of married voters supported Prop. 8, and 62% of unmarried voters rejected it. This is an interesting difference and not surprising. By a large margin, those who feel that marriage is significant enough to take part in one wish the nature of that institution at the end of 2008 to be the same as it was at the beginning of 2008. Similarly, indifference or hostility to multi-gender composition as a required component of marriage is more widely found among those who haven’t made themselves part of a marriage.
(See also Most and Least Marriage-Indifferent States.)
Ronald George, Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court, will face a retention vote in 2010, as will Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, another member of the court majority that overturned California’s requirement that married couples be composed of a man and a woman. (In 1986, Chief Justice Rose Bird and two Associate Justices, Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin, were removed from the bench by California voters due to perception that they were soft on crime.) If Proposition 8 should be ruled invalid by California’s Supreme Court sometime in the next couple of years, there likely will be many voters who supported the measure who will reject George and Moreno. On the other hand, if George and Moreno play a role in the court upholding Proposition 8, the number of people who will vote against them may be even higher: there will be people still upset about Prop. 22 having been overturned who will vote to reject them, plus there will be anti-8s who will vote against them. Fortunately, the dictates of Blind Justice will prevent such political considerations from swaying Justices George and Moreno, or even entering their juridical minds. Just in case, though, maybe the pro-8s will need to send a message out that, hey, anyone could rule a law unconstitutional, just a little difference of legal opinion, and that’s all behind us now, but overturning an amendment? Now that would be a problem.