Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mixed Feelings on the California Ruling

I have some mixed feelings on the ruling by the California Supreme Court to uphold the voter approved ban on gay marriage. It would have been nice to see the law overturned- I think it is a bad law and bigoted.

Be that as it may, I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of invalidating a vote of the people even if it is bigoted and went against my wishes as a gay man. The thing is, people voted on this issue. They heard all the sides and a majority voted...against gay marriage. Maybe I'm naive or maybe I'm not a good homosexual, but I believe the vote of the people have to be respected- even if I disagree with it. The most basic act in a democratic society is to be able to vote in an election. It was something that my ancestors were not able to do because of their color. And maybe it is because of that, I have a hard time basically telling voters that their vote doesn't count because the vote was less than desirable by people like me.

One of the lines of arguments that comes from supporters of gay marriage is that an election should not be used when deciding on human rights. That might make some sense, but then should any voting body be used?

I want to see gay marriage legal in California. Heck, I want to see it everywhere. But I think in this case, gay marriage supporters are going have to go back to the drawing board and try to educate and legislate for change. That's the way democracy works.


John Kusters said...

The thing is, I strongly believe that there are some things which should NEVER be put on a ballot. The rights of a minority is one of them. The court should have ruled that this amendment was not allowed to be voted on because it clearly violated the Equal Protections clause of the state Constitution. By allowing the travesty to be voted on, they bound their own hands. And now CA is in a worse state than before. It will take a rewrite of our Constitution before this is all settled.

Choralgirl said...

Yeah, that makes sense to me. I get twitchy about the fact that it's proposition that was voted upon, too.

But I get twitchier about the fact that there seemed to be some pretty big outside money involved. And that it is inherently bigoted. And that it's personal for me. ;-)

It's an interesting line--do we adhere first to the value of democracy or to the value of equal rights for all, which is supposed to be a founding principle of that democracy?

And CA is often an example of "government by proposition," which seems to me an invitation for exactly the scenario that's playing out here--motivated outside money that can make laws happen by seductive propaganda. Yech.

Mike at The Big Stick said...

As I said on my own blog, I think this decision coupled with the relative acceptance (by conservatives) of the law in Vermont has set the blueprint for gay marriage supporters going forward; use the legislature and get his passed without the courts.