Chief Justice George said, “Chickens gained valuable rights in California on the same day that gay men and lesbians lost them.”
Beyond budget matters, Justice George, a Republican appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1991, was critical of a 2008 voter initiative that ended same-sex marriage in California. In May 2008 the Supreme Court struck down the state’s statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, with an opinion written by Justice George citing a 1948 decision that reversed the state’s interracial marriages ban. But in the November elections that year, a ballot measure known as Proposition 8 amended the constitution to override the court.
Citing a successful ballot initiative that same Election Day that regulated the confinement of fowl in coops, Justice George said, “Chickens gained valuable rights in California on the same day that gay men and lesbians lost them.” He added, “The court over which I preside frequently is called upon to resolve legal challenges to voter initiatives. Needless to say, we incur the displeasure of the voting public when, in the course of performing our constitutional duties as judges, we are compelled to invalidate such a measure.”