So, on Wednesday, the American landscape shook a little.
In 2008 California declared that it’s constitution allowed for gays to marry. And marry they did. In 2008, Conservative groups put for Proposition 8. What is Prop 8? Well, it changed the constitution of California by adding this:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
With deceptive videos and questionable tactics, the supporters of Prop 8 succeeded-trampling on the rights of thousands. Well, some of those people decided to go to court to fight for their rights to be returned. The first shock came as Ted Olsen (who won the battle for George Bush in 2000) teamed with David Boise (who fought for Gore in the 2000 recount) to represent the plantiffs in Perry Vs. Schwarzenegger. Then there was the judge. Judge Vaughn Walker was once appointed by Reagan-and rejected as being to unfriendly to gays. George Herbert Walker Bush appointed him again and the appointment was successful-in spite of the same criticisms. Of course, the objection from the pro-Prop 8 folks was that he is openly gay, which makes him biased. As they are surely not bigots, I am certain that folks like Tony Perkins would also feel a Christian Judge or a heterosexual married judge would be far too biased.
I think the real big surprise though…the people defending Prop 8 brought forth two witnesses. One of whom cited his source as “The Internet” and the other based his information on George Reker’s research.
Now, the way people outraged by the decision to overturn Prop 8 (in which voters chose to take away the rights of fellow Americans) are talking, you would think Judge Walker got up one morning and with no provocation overturned Prop 8. What actually happened is he ruled in a lawsuit. A lawsuit where the more compelling argument came from…well, the side that won. It is as if people expect the winner to lose. The guys who mounted a terrible defense win anyways because “the people voted”. The cold hard truth is that Prop 8 was a cruel and destructive bill, it never should have been put forth for a vote. It pandered to paranoid fears and on top of that, it allowed a groups religious beliefs trample over fellow Americans liberty. Religious freedom ends where it impacts the rights of others. Period.
7 million Californians voted for Prop 8. And that is a lot. Were they all cruel and hateful bigots? Of course not. I am quite certain some (or even many) of them are people I would get along with. But I will say this, no matter how decent you might otherwise be, (and I am trying to be as tactful as I can be here) if you have voted in your state to prohibit gay marriage? I cannot support your decision. I cannot politely say your vote was an equal good, and we just disagree. I know we can be better than that. I know a person can have their religious convictions without forcing them on people who do not share them.
Imagine Prop C, wherein 7 million Californians voted to ban Catholicism. Picture the ads that the pr-Prop C people ran showing Priests as sexual predators seeking to take our children and harm them. Imagine the outcry if the Catholic Church was no longer allowed in the confines of the state of California. I cannot imagine the people who opposed Prop C would just go along with it and say, “It was the will of the people.” And when a Judge overturned the will of the people to restore freedom to Catholics in California to worship as Catholics, do you thing the response from those Catholics (as well as other Christian denominations) would not be passionately vocal in their celebration?*
Am I writing this to gloat? To say “In your Face!” No. No I am most definitely not. I am happy for my gay friends in California. I will not be made to feel bad about being happy for them or that this change to California’s constitution was struck down. I can only hope if this goes to the Supreme Court they don’t put us back where we were right before the judge’s decision with the constitution changed to discriminate. Who knows how many decades we would be expected to quietly wait for 7 million Californians to fix the constitution on their own?
Of course, there is a rather simple solution to the entire argument.
Get government out of the marriage business. Completely. The government should allow civil union, which people of the opposite or same genders have equal access to. They would get all the benefits you get from a legal marriage now. If you wanted to have a wedding and call yourself married-by a Church or wherever, you could do that as well. Or, if you want to keep your assets as they are, no civil union, but you could still get married. Ends the debate pretty fast.
*of course, I also know, there are some Christians that would support Prop C and “vote their conscience.”