Wednesday, November 05, 2008

proposition 8

i'm reading a news article about proposition 8, california's gay marriage ban amendment. in the article, there are quotes from people on each side of the issue. from the people who support the ban, there are the comments about how we need to define marriage as one man and one woman to protect the broader morals of society, to protect the children, the same vagaries that are always spouted to gloss over the hard fact that this is an amendment that defines certain relationships as being more legitimate than others.

however, one of the quotes in the article really drives me crazy. they quote one of the yes on 8 campaign workers as stating:

"We aren't trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want -- it doesn't change anything that they're allowed to do already. It's defining marriage. . . . Marriage is a man and a woman establishing a family unit."

way to be completely wrong.

first of all, proponents of proposition 8 are trying to change something that homosexuals want--they want the same rights as straight couples to have their marrages recognized by the state and have the legal structures that accompany civil marriage. many "homosexual couples" [and, in fact, many people who are either not homosexual, not in a couple, or both!] believe that the state should blind itself to gender when recognizing marriages, and want that to happen.

secondly, she misstates the law in California by stating, before the election, that proposition 8 "doesn't change anything that they're allowed to do already." once the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal, homosexual couples were allowed by California law to marry. they were allowed to marry before the election, and proposition 8 took that option away from them.

finally, she spouts that same old claim that oh, we're just "defining marriage." she knows as well as we do that defining something in the law means everything. why else would she be fighting so hard to see this "definition" etched in the state constitution? her definition defines same-sex relationships as second-rate under the law of the land. there is nothing about legally allowing same-sex marriages that prohibits churches or any other private organization as defining marriage as one man and one woman establishing a family unit. private groups can define marriage however they want to. there are other churches and organizations that will recognize same-sex marriages, and proposition 8 will do no more to stop that than the California Supreme Court could do to stop private organizations who chose to use the one-man, one-woman definition. however, putting her definition in the constitution forces it on everybody else, and deprives same-sex couples of rights they used to have. there is nothing trivial or technical about that.

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