The opinion that declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional is filled with pop culture references
The appellate court judges who ruled Tuesday that California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, mentioned Jumbotrons, Frank Sinatra, movies and Marilyn Monroe along with Supreme Court precedents in their decision.
"Had Marilyn Monroe’s film been called ‘How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire,’ it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie, even though the underlying drama for same-sex couples is no different," the judges wrote.
The judges wrote that in society, "We are excited to see someone ask, ‘Will you marry me?’, whether on bended knee in a restaurant or in text splashed across a stadium Jumbotron. Certainly it would not have the same effect to see, ‘Will you enter into a registered domestic partnership with me?’."
Also read: Prop 8 is Unconstitutional, Court Rules
They even invoked Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln — all in one paragraph:
"Groucho Marx’s one-liner, ‘Marriage is a wonderful institution … but who wants to live in an institution?’ would lack its punch if the word ‘marriage’ were replaced with the alternative phrase. So too with Shakespeare’s ‘A young man married is a man that’s marr’d.’ Lincoln’s ‘Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory,' and Sinatra’s ‘A man doesn’t know what happiness is until he’s married. By then it’s too late.’"
The Court mentioned Shakespeare a few times:
"We emphasize the extraordinary significance of the official designation of ‘marriage," the decision says. "That designation is important because ‘marriage' is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by ay other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not."