I should warn you, dear reader, that this post descends into the morass of my own political opinions and contains no grammar issues. I can’t claim that my opinions and theories and viewpoints are anything more than half-baked. Also, I inherited my political argumentation style from my father, which means that I have no problem employing profanity when I feel it is justified. If you think that your opinion of me may be skewed by reading such things, I advise that you stop reading now, please. There will be another grammar post soon enough.
The issue I want to discuss is California Proposition 8, a ballot initiative coming up on Tuesday, one which I cannot understate my opposition to. For the sake of non-Californians, let me summarize the issue at hand. In 2000, Californian voters passed Proposition 22, which added a line to the California Civil Code stating, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court voted 4-3 that this sentence violated the California constitution, and that marriages between a man and a man or between a woman and a woman would henceforth be valid and recognized in California.
Boy, that burnt some people’s beans! And so here we are, deciding whether the state’s Constitution ought to have that stupid “no discrimination” loophole closed up. Prop 8, if passed, will put the currently-unconstitutional sentence “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” directly into the Constitution. Thank the Lord we’ll get that loophole fixed! Clearly the framers of the Constitution intended to leave gay people out of the list of people who have full rights, but they never figured that gay people would try to exercise those rights, so they didn’t bother putting it in there. Lucky thing we of more enlightened times have the chance to go back and rectify their mistake!
I’m sorry. This isn’t the time or place for sarcasm. This is serious, appalling business. But I just can’t help myself, because it’s pretty obvious to me that getting to marry the person you love, with whom you have a deep mutual connection, isn’t some damn luxury to be exercised only by those who fit the standard definition of a relationship. This isn’t some slippery-slope thing where if you let gays marry, soon enough there’ll be bestiality marriages, pedophilic marriages, and the like. We’re talking about consenting adults whose relationships are already recognized, just asking to be given the same legal rights as anyone else.
So why the hell would anyone be opposed to that? I was unable to come up with a logical reason myself, so I went to the “Yes On 8” website to find out why they opposed it. They have four paragraphs explaining themselves, and here they are in a slightly condensed format:
[…] Earlier this year, four activist judges based in San Francisco wrongly overturned the people’s vote, legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage did not just overturn the will of California voters; it also redefined marriage for the rest of society, without ever asking the people themselves to accept this decision. This decision has far-reaching consequences. For example, because public schools are already required to teach the role of marriage in society as part of the curriculum, schools will now be required to teach students that gay marriage is the same as traditional marriage, starting with kindergarteners. […]
Passing Proposition 8 protects our children and places into the Constitution the simple definition that a marriage is between a man and a woman.
Okay. First off, the “four activist judges based in San Francisco” are 4/7ths of the California Supreme Court. Three of those four were appointed by REPUBLICAN governors. And they’re in San Francisco, that caricatured city of low morals, because that was the biggest city on the West Coast when the state’s Supreme Court was founded in 1850. So they’re not exactly some wacko liberal fringe judges. Secondly, the people don’t get asked their opinion on issues of what rights people do and don’t have. The Bill of Rights was passed without a single voter weighing in on it. Issues of constitutionality aren’t supposed to reflect popular opinion, which is notoriously bad about the whole “granting rights to minorities” thing. Thirdly, if the issue is that kindergartners are supposed to be taught about “the role of marriage in society”, then they’re already being taught about gay marriage, because other states and countries, which are part of our society, already let gay people get married. If kindergartners aren’t learning about gay marriage now, they aren’t going to start learning about it just because we don’t outlaw gay marriage. If you don’t believe me, go ask a kindergartner what they’ve learned about gay marriage in school. Gay marriage has been legal in this state for a few months now, so there’s been time enough for them to learn about it. And yet I’ll bet they’re not that familiar with the issue. And finally, what the hell does it mean that Prop 8 “protects our children”? What’s it protecting them from? Tolerance?
These are some pretty stupid reasons to write a right out of the Constitution.
Part of why I get so fired up about this issue is that it’s only been 40 years since Loving v. Virginia. That was the 1967 Supreme Court case that said it shouldn’t be a jailable offense for an interracial couple to marry. Both of my parents were born before that was the case, which is probably a much more jarring fact for me than for you.
Now here’s the thing. I’m in an interracial relationship. My dear girlfriend happens to be Pakistani, whereas I am blindingly white. You know what I’d say if you told me we couldn’t get married if we so choose? “Screw you.” I have no interest for subtlety or civility in such matters. You know what’s great? For the past 40 years, there’s been no one trying to stand in the way of my romantic happiness, so I haven’t had to be rude. I’m a lucky guy that way. As it turned out, I am attracted to females and frankly find the male form to be rather unattractive. But you’re telling me that if my attractions went the other way, people would get to tell me I couldn’t marry the person I loved? Oh, okay, screw you.
This is why, when I walk through La Jolla and pass a house with a “Yes on 8” sign, I have to stop myself from knocking it down. Why when I see a car with a “Yes on 8” bumper sticker, I have to stop myself from flipping off the driver. It’s because each of these is a reminder for me of a time when my rights would have been limited, a time when some ass could have told me who not to marry.
So in summary, please, please, vote against Proposition 8 if you can. And if you vote for Proposition 8, I’d rather you didn’t tell me.
[I’ve turned off the comments for this post, not because I think your opinions don’t matter, but rather because this is not a politics blog, and I have neither the energy nor interest in dealing with fights in the comments. If you’ve got an opinion, there’re tons of better forums through which you can express it than some stupid grammar blog. And you’re not going to change my mind in the next couple days, so there’s no reason to inform me that I’m dumb or short-sighted or needlessly crude or whatever through the comments.]