An overlooked tidbit regarding the First District’s ruling against gay marriage: William McGuiness, author of the majority opinion, is on the ballot for retention this November.
Appellate justices must run for retention every 12 years, meaning they must secure a majority of “yes” votes to stay on the bench. Few issues fuel as much passionate disagreement as gay marriage, and so with yesterday’s ruling, McGuiness just inserted himself in the middle.
Because the First District is very liberal — its main population centers are San Francisco and Alameda counties — could McGuiness’ decision spark a political response from the pro-gay marriage crowd?
Unlikely. The election is a month away, meaning a flawless field operation would have to go live, like, yesterday. As of Friday, one political activist in the pro-marriage camp had not heard any rumblings against McGuiness. The pro-marriage forces have already decided that the courts are the place they want to fight this battle, he added, and they have always planned for a Supreme Court showdown.
“It would be a distraction from the central issue,” the activist said of an anti-retention campaign.
Justice Joanne Parrilli, who concurred in McGuiness’ majority opinion, and Justice J. Anthony Kline, who dissented, are not on this year’s ballot.
— Dan Levine