Politics, Religion

More on Prop 8

05.27.09 | 4 Comments

The gavel of justice

Since I’ve gotten a bunch of private email (why don’t you comment?) on yesterday’s entry, I thought I’d take another run at this one. Summarizing the collective response it would be “How could you support what the court ruled yesterday? That’s like saying you support discrimination.”

I tried to explain yesterday, but obviously, it failed. So here’s another attempt. In my view, there are two issues that we’re talking about that have been conflated. First, there is the content of Prop 8 – the discrimination against US citizens denying fair access and equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Second, there is the issue of the right of the people of the state of California to amend their own constitution to reflect their will.

Let’s handle issue one first, equality for all citizens. I have been clear and unequivocal on this issue, I believe in equality and Prop 8’s amendment of the constitution is nothing less than institutionalized discrimination. It’s wrong in every sense of the word and it is outrageous that our general populace voted to enact the change. That’s the content issue, nothing has changed there.

When writing the entry yesterday, it was fully about issue two – the right of the people to express their will through the state constitution. Given that there was an election, that Prop 8 won and changed the state constitution, I can’t see how any judge could interpret the document any differently than was announced yesterday (frankly, I’m shocked there was even one dissenting judge on this decision.) The people, no matter how misguided, under the present set of laws we have in this state, have the right to amend the state constitution to reflect their collective will. That’s the law. Unless or until the law changes, the court had no choice but to rule in the way they did.

Now, since the content of Prop 8 stinks and the court wasn’t the right place to address the problem, I expect that the people of California will now be asked to reconsider the issue on the November, 2010 ballot. And at that time, I would expect the spirit that makes America and California great, equal treatment and opportunity for all, will come into play and that the voters will simply amend the constitution to do away with the institutionalized discrimination. Voters caused this problem and voters will have to fix it.

That being said, why do I expect a different outcome in 2010? One, same-sex marriage is real and has been performed and practiced. The world has not ended. The practice has had zero impact on so-called “traditional marriages” currently in force or planned. The fabric of society has not unraveled as the pro-8 spin doctors had predicted. We don’t see school children “being converted to homosexual lifestyle” nor do we see gay marriage being taught in classrooms. What we do see is 18,000 committed couples who are enjoying the same benefits as any other committed couple in the United States.

Many voters who supported Prop 8 didn’t really think it through, they simply were falling for the massive advertising and sound bites from the “Yes on 8” campaign. And, it was pretty clear the conservative voters weren’t going to win anything else on last fall’s ballot, so they went all out for this one.

Finally, I think the voting base that would rabidly oppose a measure like Prop 8 got complacent; never imagining Californians would support such a grossly inappropriate bill and thus focused more on the Presidential portion of the election. In November, 2010, this will be the main issue on the agenda for voters, there won’t be complacency, and the outcome will be different. Meanwhile, this will continue to be a point of contention and an embarrassment to the people of California. The state where discrimination is written into the state constitution, something even regressive states like Mississippi or Alabama haven’t done. How humiliating.