Last minute confusion on Proposition 8

Why on earth should it require only a simple majority to amend the state constitution? Is there some misguided notion that the voters will consider carefully the fact that amending the constitution is a big deal and should not be taken lightly, hence making it harder to amend?

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4 thoughts on “Last minute confusion on Proposition 8

  1. Brother, I wish that I knew. The older that I get, the more likely that I am to vote ‘no’ on all ballot initiatives, regardless of where I stand on the issues.

  2. Now that the election is over, we have unfortunately been able to learn more about the CA ballot-initiative amendment process.

    Here’s the literal deal

    1. Under the California Constitution, the initiative can be used for “amendments” but not “revisions”:

    [Art. XVIII, § 1.] The Legislature …, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may propose an amendment or revision of the Constitution ….

    [§ 2]. The Legislature …, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may submit at a general election the question whether to call a convention to revise the Constitution….

    [§ 3]. The electors may amend the Constitution by initiative.

    [§ 4]. A proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted to the electors and if approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless the measure provides otherwise.

    A lawsuit was filed yesterday by the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights arguing that the changes proposed in Prop 8 were substantial and sweeping enough to qualify as a “revision”, not an “amendment”. It could have only been constitutionally been put on the ballot by first passing a 2/3 majority vote in the Legislature (which did not happen). The argument will rest on whether the Proposition should have been categorized as a “revision”. Legal opinion on this matter is mixed.

    Press release about the lawsuit
    http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=press_prop8challenge110508

    Many gay rights activists are wary about trying to overturn this through litigation. It hasn’t worked well in this State thus far.

  3. I find it rather amusing that people who’ve lived in California for many a year, witnessing the amendment of the California Constitution by proposition after proposition, all passed by simple majority votes, are now aghast at the idea that a simple majority can, in fact, amend the California Constitution. Be aghast at the nature of the amendment itself, but not how it was passed. The notion that “amending the constitution is a big deal and should not be taken lightly” is also mistaken; a simple check of the well-sourced Wikipedia page shows that the California Constitution was modified 500 times from, for example, 1911 to 1986, and that, at its height, it contained 75,000 words. It currently has around 40,000 words. An amendment of this constitution, unlike one of the U.S. Constitution, is not the big deal that people are pretending it is.

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