Roundtable: Same-Sex Marriage, Health Care, California Budget
Same-sex marriage a right
Over two days, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down two rulings which will directly and immediately affect the lives of millions of Americans.
The court ruled on Friday that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. The 5-4 decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, came after decades of litigation and political activism. Recently. public opinion had taken a sharp turn in favor of same-sex marriage.
Kennedy wrote of the litigants, "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Justice Antonin Scalia disputed Kennedy's opinion in an acidic manner, saying, “The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”
The LGBT community was thrilled. San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria called it a historic day that would be in the textbooks.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling that President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act was valid in the face of a challenge to its wording on insurance exchanges was also significant, especially to the 6 million people who would have lost their government subsidies had the plaintiffs prevailed.
The ruling didn't directly affect California, which has set up its own insurance exchange. But experts thought Obamacare would have been brought down if the court had ruled against government subsidies for customers in states without their own exchanges.
California has a budget
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law this week a general fund budget of $115.4 billion. The budget was on time, reached relatively without angst and came with just a handful of line-item vetoes, totaling just $1.3 million.
The budget includes more money for education at all levels and Medi-Cal coverage for immigrant children living in the U.S. illegally. Still to be resolved: how to pay for huge infrastructure needs, Medi-Cal payments to doctors and increases in the budget for caregivers for the developmentally disabled.