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Nov 08, 2008



Is it clear whether Prop 8 revised or amended the state constitution? My understanding was that there is a strong possibility that the language of the ballot measure is in question because it failed to make this distinction.


I don't think any ballot measure can be used to amend the constitution - only a 2/3 majority vote in Sacramento can legally achieve that end.


"Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism." — On Liberty, John Stuart Mill (1859)


Hi Aaron - And thanks for your comments! When the ballot measure initially came out I was amazed that a simple majority could change the constitution. The article outlining the ability to make changes via a simple majority is below. Cheers - Heida


SEC. 4. A proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted to the
electors and if approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect
the day after the election unless the measure provides otherwise. If
provisions of 2 or more measures approved at the same election
conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest affirmative vote
shall prevail."


Hi Aaron - In response to your question about a 'revision' versus an 'amendment', yes! I understand Prop 8 is being contested on that front and hope they have success. - Heida

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