Sunday, May 1, 2011

Was it About Marriage or Democracy?

Originally Posted on May 26, 2009

Well, they decided.

In the case of the challenge to the passing of Proposition 8 in California, the state Supreme Court upheld the vote today in a 6-1 decision. To be clear, the decision was not made on the basis of the question itself, but rather the use of the voter initiative process to make changes to the state’s Constitution.

There is good news among the bad. The state Supreme Court did not revert the 18,000 marriages of same-gender couples.

I'm not thrilled with most of the ruling. While most of my friends concentrate on the issue of same-gender marriage itself, I take exception to making a mockery of the laws a particular government institutes to uphold the ideals of modern democracy. There are far-reaching implications in regards to the temper of the ruling as California’s initiative process could possibly dictate the state’s Constitutional process, which is already is full of Swiss cheese. This looms as a potential backlash for the state, despite the court’s majority opinion restating that the power for voters to amend the Constitution is limited.

The worst thing California could do is to allow this ruling seep into critical processes the legislature and the Governor’s office/Executive branch.

The critical point of the Supreme Court’s ruling is no longer just about same-gender marriage. It is devolution towards a form of limited anarchy a fiscally-crippled state cannot afford to uphold. Furthermore, this ruling could open up towards taking away the rights of citizens and other tax-paying residents of California on various points of law. That could leverage like-minded subsets of the population to gain access to government through a majority decision by a small percentage of registered voters.

I’m sorry, but 52% of 62.2% of registered voters making key decisions such as this sets a dangerous course for the maintenance of a modern democracy. This is regardless whether the ballot measure was written to fit within the limits of the voters'  ability to decide on any amendments to the state’s Constitution.

On the other hand, I'm glad that some of my friends and acquaintances will remain married. This did not need a vote to do, but to uphold the rights of formalized coupling with all rights intended is the right thing to do.

Which brings me to the issue itself: Now that the court backhanded the future rights of same-gender couples to marry in the state of California for the time being, it makes me wonder what’s next for my people. Budget crisis not withstanding, this state cannot afford to spurn its GLBT citizens into a lesser form of citizenship.

Granted, I doubt if the laws that form the foundation of GLBT rights in California are far from being altered further from this ruling. This is where the challenge begins for the state’s GLBT population to do what they can to ensure that their rights are protected and asserted at every turn. This means being in part as equal a citizen as those that would like to degrade their societal status.  By taking a course of action to equalize our detractors, we can achieve more to further the cause of universal rights for all citizens in this country. By increasing basic protections on the Federal level will help leverage future rights on the state level – not just in California, but elsewhere across this country.

Remember, I may not be your neighbor in California anymore. I might as well be. All I ask those that saw their vote upheld by today’s ruling is to understand that no matter how you voted, you already know someone that have been impacted by it.

1 comment:



    Scott Schumacher: Real Anarchy would be much better than this mockery!

    I’ve often wondered why the State as a governing entity should even have it’s hands in an institution with a 48% failure rate whatsoever. Gay or straight, the State should stay out of it and let people live their lives, form partnerships, forge agreements, etc.


    Lisa Orcutt Kane wrote on Facebook: I’m with you…it’s time to go federal…yikes. I remember telling people that the 2004 election would come down to the gay marriage fight, simply because it was perceived that the GLBT demographic was small enough to steam roll. Sick, sad, and….it was true. Check out the video of the press conference Bush did. Urgently declaring the need to protect marriage. Never did the man smirk with less sincerity.

    I am hoping that times have changed. I hope. This has been politicized, as it was destined to be. But you make the point that it needs to be personalized. When it’s your friend, your brother, your co-worker, your child..

    …and it is.