Brown ready to ‘figure out’ state budget
by Dan Aiello
Bay Area Reporter
In his keynote address before Sacramento’s Stonewall Democrats last week, state Attorney General Jerry Brown discussed the state’s dire financial situation and reiterated why he believes Proposition 8 should be overturned while all but announcing his intention to run for governor.
On Tuesday, however, the state Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in a 6-1 decision, delivering a blow to supporters of same-sex marriage. But in what was widely expected, the justices also decided that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that were performed over five months last year will stand. [See stories, page 1.]
[Updated, May 28: Brown did make brief comments on the Prop 8 decision Tuesday night.
“I want to I want to say that the court, through a very long opinion, and I have to say somewhat tortured, certainly was inconsistent in my judgment from the marriage case ruling, which really was a ringing defense of the right of same-sex couples to be included within the right of marriage,” Brown said. “And now because of the 52 percent vote that right is stripped away. I really believe that over time Californians will accord to same-sex couples this right that the court previously had upheld but now is invalidating because of Proposition 8. This is a story that has evolved, it’s changing and I would predict in the future the rights of same-sex couples will be restored.”
Brown said such closely fought social issues “aren’t solved overnight.”
Brown criticized the court further, based on its previous ruling. “I think the court took a narrow view of its job, its duty, to protect fundamental liberties,” he said. “Once the court declared that same-sex marriage was an aspect of liberty, I believe they had a duty to uphold that right, but they saw it differently.”
“It stems from the court’s belief that there are no rights outside what is written,” said Brown, who said his argument was that “The core values of equality and liberty are fundamental to our constitution.”
Brown predicted recourse will be at the ballot box. “The fact is Californians are deeply divided on same-sex marriage,” said Brown, refusing to predict the outcome of any future ballot fight. “It depends on turnout, and it depends on what happens between now and the election.”]
Brown, who received an award from the Stonewall group, served as governor in the 1970s and later as mayor of Oakland. He couldn’t help but pepper his off-the-cuff address with obscure remarks, while offering his trademark caustic criticism of the capital city to a hometown audience that wasn’t well received.
“I don’t live in Sacramento, I already did that,” said Brown. “I live in Oakland where it’s a little more exciting.”
But just as attendees began to ask each other if the attorney general was indicating he would not run for governor, Brown told the Stonewall members, many of whom work in state or legislative offices, “In case I do run for governor, I hope you solve this year’s budget crisis sometime before next year. But you know what? If you don’t, I’ll figure it out.”
The comment brought applause and many in the room believed Brown had announced his candidacy.