Propostition 8

Well it’s a big election year, and perhaps one of the most hard fought ballot measures on the November ballot in California will be Proposition 8.

Because of the recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in California, the text of the Proposition changed.  Prior to the ruling the proposition would have modified the state constitution to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman.  Now the text of the Proposition is as follows:

Proposition 8. Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.

Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.  Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California.  Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in serveal tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.  In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.

Of course the proponents of Prop 8 fought hard to have the original language placed on the ballot.  Because people are more likely to vote against something that “eliminates the right” of someone.  Here is the original language:

Proposition 8. Limit on Marriage.

Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state.

While the LA Times’ Editorial Board, was deliberating on their official position on the ballot measure, they invited folks from each side of the measure to hear what they had to say.  In the final editorial they left out some interesting comments made by the Pro-Prop 8 group.  The supporters of Prop 8 generally try to present it as a “Defense of Marriage,” and that they are not anti-gay (“in fact some of their good friends are gay”).  However, what the LA Times’ Editorial Board found during their session doesn’t seem to hold up that argument:

“At one point, the conversation turned to the “activist judges” whose May ruling opened the door to same-sex marriage, and how similar this case was to the 1948 case that declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional. According to one of the Prop. 8 reps, that 1948 ruling was OK because people are born to their race and thus are in need of constitutional protection, while gays and lesbians choose their homosexuality. So much for the expert opinions of the American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics that people cannot choose their sexuality. Oh, those activist doctor types.

In any case, one Prop. 8 supporter said, gay rights are not as important as children’s rights, and it’s obvious that same-sex couples who married would “recruit” their children toward homosexuality because otherwise, unable to procreate themselves, they would have no way to replenish their numbers. Even editorial writers can be left momentarily speechless, and this was one of those moments. Aside from this notion of a homosexual recruitment plot — making it understandable where the word “homophobia” came from — this made no logical sense at all. Same-sex couples. whether married or not, already have children. Marriage wouldn’t change a thing about this picture except, perhaps, to model for children that parents tend to be married.”

It amazes me that so many people put so much energy in “defending the sacred right of marriage.”  In the context of governmental oversight, which is what all these measures are, marriage is just a civil contract.  One that can be (and is) broken rather easily.  Our idea of marriage as an institution has constantly evolved throughout history.  Even the idea that we “marry for love” is a relatively new one.  Throughout much of history, marriages were arranged in order to expand the influence of the family’s status or class.

What I have the hardest time understanding is how a same-sex couple being able to marry threatens a marriage between a mixed-gender couple.  As a straight man, I’m not likely to date (or marry) a gay man.  Likewise, a woman who is interested in dating women, is likely not going to want to marry me anyway.

For all those folks that claim they want “government to stay out of their business,” legislating marriage sure seems to be right up in our grills.

Permanent link to this article: