05 November, 2008

CA Prop 8: Since people understand law and justice so well...

LOS ANGELES -- California voters have adopted a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision that gave gay couples the right to wed just months ago.

This is the thing about our system of government. We have the executive branch. We have the legislative branch. We have the judicial branch. And these were created to provide a system of checks and balances, to ensure that the interests of the nation are best served.

And then... we have... ballot initiatives.

Ballot initiatives can basically say "to hell with the normal 'representative' way of doing things, we're going to put this vote directly to the people". And what we end up with is a situation where the Supreme Court of California, based on vast knowledge and interpretation of laws and precedents, passes a judgment, which is then overturned by the will of the people. Some would call this democracy in action, because the majority spoke. But I call it sick and disgusting. The reason that we have government and a legal system is so that people who have presumably become knowledgeable and expert in matters of public interest can speak in the interests of the people, protecting our rights, while obeying certain guidelines. The ballot initiative subverts that process. Instead, a bunch of uninformed people vote their conscience about what they consider personally acceptable.

Any court that decides that marriage is between one woman and one man is a court acting based on a religious guideline. That is plain and simple fact. The reason why homosexuality is scorned can only be based on two things: (1) religious belief or (2) persecution of those who are "different" from what some majority considers the norm.

Let's consider the matter of gay marriage.

If gay people are allowed to marry, what harm is caused to society? Is there any?

If gay people are allowed to marry, what harm could an opponent assert is being caused?
  • Damaging the sanctity of marriage as it was originally defined?
  • Setting a bad example for our children?
  • Tacitly recognizing homosexuality as an acceptable life choice?
  • Further burdening our government and society with providing equal rights?

These are the only arguments I think one could make, and they are all patently asinine. Why don't we say that an Asian cannot marry a Caucasian? Why don't we say that a Jew cannot marry a Christian? Why don't we say that an African American cannot run for president?

Interestingly, I imagine that there's a sizeable overlap between those who oppose gay marriage, and those who would (at least privately) feel that each of the (equally absurd) ideas in the above paragraph would be acceptable.

Shame on California for even allowing people to vote on this amendment. Though, one good thing that could come from it would be that when Obama appoints a new justice, or two, to the United States Supreme Court, this matter may come again before the highest court, and perhaps gay marriage will be made legal throughout the nation.

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