Supporters of California's Proposition 8 argued that constitutionally banning same-sex marriages was necessary in order to protect the institution of marriage and the social fabric from destruction. They never explained to my satisfaction how same-sex marriages threatened heterosexual ones or society as a whole, but they managed to persuade enough people, most of whom probably didn't require much persuading, to vote for the proposition that it won. This ill-advised speech by San Francisco's mayor Gavin Newsom surely didn't help, making it sound as though hordes of rampaging gays would soon be forcing themselves upon us, with sadistic glee, through our 'open door.' Barring a successful court challenge of the federal constitutionality of this change to the state's Constitution, California's Constitution will presumably be amended to define marriage as possible only between "one man and one woman."
I'm not sure how this will impact same-sex marriages that took place while they were legal. I've heard that they are likely to go on being recognized and that only future ones will be precluded. But if marriage is now constitutionally limited to heterosexual couples, how could any couples violating this definition be considered married, even if they married before the amendment was passed? Wouldn't this be a little like making Prohibition applicable only to those who weren't already drinking before that amendment went into effect?
Well, I say give the supporters of Proposition 8 their definition of marriage. At least until enough of them die off or change their views that the amendment can be repealed, just as Prohibition was. But then let there be an amendment on the next ballot that authorizes same-sex civil unions, by whatever name, that bestows upon same-sex couples precisely the same legal and economic rights, privileges, and responsibilities that apply to marriage, and let us hope to the real God that it passes too.
If and when this proposition meets opposition, as I expect it will, from the same quarters that supported Proposition 8, at least this will expose their pretense that Proposition 8 was about marriage, and nakedly reveal that what it was really about was denying same-sex couples "equal protection under the law."
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