Today the ninth circuit court overturned the voter-backed Prop 8 law banning gay marriage in California. In the ruling of 2-1, they upheld the interpretation of a judge in a lower court who ruled it a violation of civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Prop 8 was voted on by the people of California in 2010 and has since been battled from the left and the right and has slowly been winding it’s way through the catacombs of the judicial branch of the government with it’s final decision almost unquestionably ending with an eventual trip to the Supreme Court one day.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in a statement on the ruling:“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
A fine ruling I suppose, and it makes sense to me, but as I’ve watched this unfold over the years and seen the issue come and go from the forefront of the news cycle, I have always had a couple of qualms about this being an issue at all.
In deciding if gays can get married, it does not negate the lawful marriage of opposite-sex couples. It in no way impedes their rights to marry; nor does it make the union of marriage, both legal and spiritual, less than what it is and what it represents.
We are not, in this ruling, approving of gay marriage as a society. This is not a case of deciding whether it is sinful, immoral, or an abomination under God. This is not a ruling that says we all need to love our neighbor, cast the first stone, or judge lest we be judged; we’re just saying that if you want, you can legally get married to another human being. You can still be a homophobe, which is exactly what you are if you don’t approve of gay marriage. You can say you don’t care if someone is gay, but if you think gays should not be allowed to get married, that just comes from a place of hate. Let’s just call it what it is.
I have always had a bone to pick with the “sanctity of marriage” argument. People, pundits, politicians argue that the institution of marriage (between a man and a woman) is the foundation of society and to allowed same-sex marriage would destroy what the traditions and the institution stand for. Hmmm. Someone should tell Newt Gingrich this (Mr. GOP candidate for President, thrice married. Mrs. Gingrich would be the Third Lady of the United States).
Well, I have always held the position that if gay marriage should be illegal, then so should divorce. If gays can’t get married because of the sanctity of a tradition, then I say we make divorce just as illegal, to further defend the institution. If divorce should stay legal (and continue at a national average of about 52%) then I say we make adultery criminal instead. You can get divorced, but if you’re going to philander that’ll get you 3-5 in Lompoc.
My last assertion has always been my favorite: Who gives a shit? This doesn’t effect me and my eventual marriage and I certainly am not one to want to limit the rights of a particular portion of the population. If we want to change gun control rights, that applies to everyone, and then I’ll take a position. If we want to make abortion a criminal act, that is different, it’s only a law for a portion of society. Do you see the difference? We should not pass a law limiting the rights of only part of the population where only some are affected by it’s inception.
In the end I really think this is a non-issue. Let gays get married. I am all for equality, and never for limiting the rights of a minority of the population. Straight people, you get to keep beating your spouse, getting divorced, and getting trim on the side. Nothing changes for you. You get to keep raising straight and gay children at random. You get to continue to fuck kids up psychologically and emotionally as you have for hundreds of years. You get to split up your stuff or stay in a loveless marriage praying the other person dies before you; your choice as a heterosexual. You get to keep your 72 hour marriages and your annulments. You get to keep spitting in the face of the hallowed institution you champion in the most ironic manner. All I’m saying is that let the gay people in on the party. Gay or straight, the sanctity of marriage was sullied a long time before the Stonewall Riots…let gay people in on the institution-sullying party, or pass laws finally restoring and truly protecting the sanctity you cloakatively hold so dear. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, straight people.
All Photos by Wesley Bauman, ©2010