For at least one judge in California, it is no longer enough that a ballot initiative fulfill the legal requirements for such measures. The backers of an initiative had also better have motives that are pure as the driven snow, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
A federal judge has ordered sponsors of California’s Proposition 8 to release campaign strategy documents that opponents believe could show that backers of the same-sex marriage ban were motivated by prejudice against gays.
Plaintiffs in a federal suit seeking to overturn Prop. 8 – two same-sex couples, a gay-rights organization and the city of San Francisco – contend that the measure’s real purpose was to strip a historically persecuted minority group of rights held by the majority.
If the courts find that the ballot measure was motivated by discrimination, they could strike it down without having to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.
“The intent or purpose of Prop. 8 is central to this litigation,” Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker declared Thursday in requiring backers of the November 2008 measure to give the opposing side their internal campaign communications.
The question before the court should not be, “what was in the hearts of the people who wrote and campaigned for this proposition?” It should be, “is the text as the voters passed it legal?” The latter question has already been decided. Any further attempts to delve into the mindsets of the supporters (or opponents, for that matter) needs to consider the injunction, “Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.”
(Via Stand Firm.)