May 27, 2009

Democracy vs Civil Rights

The other day California's Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8 was indeed in step with the state's constitution much to the dismay of many who are in favor of gay marriage. While I don't approve of the amendment I do think the judges made the right decision.

Let me explain.

I've made my views on gay marriage clear already and like many I'm frustrated with the results of Prop 8, but the drafters of the bill ran a far better campaign while most liberals were distracted with their Obama love. Regardless the conservatives dotted their 'i's and ensured this legislation would fit within the requirements of their state's government. I can't blame them for liberal apathy.

Still I'd rather see the Supreme Court do what is required of them and that is define it's constitution. It should not be allowed to legislate from the bench. That's up to the...wait for it...legislature and voters.

This begs the question, should a civil right (if you believe this issue to be such) be allowed in the hands of the voters? If so wouldn't it be fair to ask those that are passionate about this issue to do more to fight for it? If you feel gay marriage is on par with the abolishing Jim Crow laws and the like wouldn't it be fair for you to turn off your gaming console for a little while and fight the good fight? Is it at all reasonable to assume our President to intervene in states issues especially considering the federal Constitution doesn't cover sexual orientation?

Extremists will rule the day with issues like this and unfortunately for gay rights advocates it seems the conservatives have a far better grasp of effective campaigning. Maybe one day America will look back at this period and view the anti-gay marriage lobby as we do regarding people protesting racial integrated schools.

"I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman." - Arnold Schwarzenegger


JLee said...

This is very tricky...especially since a lot of the constitution was based on Christian principles.

wigsf said...

In a democracy, 51% of the population gets to tell the other 49% what to do. Sometimes, that means that the 10% of the population actually affected by gay marriage are stuck having to prove that they're equal to 51% of voters. That, they did not do.

Anonymous said...

First, we don't live in a Democracy, very important point. We live in a representative republic. Second, the SC of Cali did not legislate. The case was brought to them to determine it's constitutionality. The court basically said prop 8 was constitutional. Although it's popular to say courts legislate, they cannot pick something up unless it's a RARE case. The case was brought by someone. This page states the people who filed something on Prop 8. The court did not just wish this up. And the opinion was 6 to 1 which says something.

Finally, I'm going to quote something from a very wise man, Gary Bake, normal Joe from somewhere I do not know. Simply stated, marriage is not a right. We've lost that in our country ... that and the whole concept of civics and government. Here are Gary's words

You have hit one of my particular pet peeves - that of referring to marriage as a "right." I think you'll find that historically in the US a "right" is the freedom to take action without government interference. For example, if the government disappeared tomorrow, which of these would disappear with it: Freedom of speech. Freedom to bear arms. Freedom to assemble. You would lose the "right" to a government provided attorney, but since that is only provided to limit the government's ability to lock you up, then it's a moot point.

Marriage is not a right. There can be and hopefully always will be limits on who can marry. Marriage is essentially a government service or benefit, and there is no place in the Constitution which states that all persons will benefit equally under law. If you don't believe that, try collecting your social security early. Or try collecting crop subsidies without farming.

The reason that couples get benefits from society is that over time people came to realize that stable relationships between man and woman provided a benefit to society and should be encouraged, and society provided some benefits in return. As of right now, to the best of my knowledge there is no consensus in the United States that encouraging homosexual relationships provides an equivalent benefit. Many would argue from a moral standpoint that the opposite is true, but that's beside the point. The point is that this is a public matter and should be decided in Legislatures or as provided by state law IAW Ammendment 10 of the US Constitution.

Consider this: If I came up with a way to make a perfect $100 bill in my basement, it would be a counterfeit. It could be exactly the same in every respect, identical down to the last molecule, approved by a government currency inspector. It wouldn't matter. It wouldn't matter because there is a specific process that must be adhered to for the printing of money. The process is just as important as the final form. Why does it have to be that way? Because that's what everyone agreed to when the laws governing currency were set in place.

With regards to gay "marriage", activists are telling people that it's the same thing, that basically they should sit down, shut up, and go along. I say that it's not the same thing. It's not what was agreed to or understood when the laws governing marriage were established, and as such it needs to go through the same kind of process of consensus. Until it does, the activists may win legal battles and get a form of marriage, but it will always be considered counterfeit.

Miss Ash said...

I don't enjoy weddings nor do I think a piece of paper is necessary to prove my love for someone so I really don't get the brew ha ha over this whole thing.

Nor do I think the sole purpose of a man and woman being together is to procreate. I don't want kids....

If a gay couple wants to marry then let them.

Mattbear said...

@Miss Ash - the big brouhaha is that by denying gays the right (and @Knot, it most certainly is a right) to marry, you are denying them benefits of law that are open to straight couples - survivor benefits, medical decisions/powers of attorney, possession of common property, medical benefits...the list goes on and on. Since you aren't married, it may not seem like a big deal, but in the eyes of the law there is a huge difference between married and unmarried, especially when it comes to matters of death - something you must be concerned about if you intend to be with someone forever, have kids, etc.