July 18, 2024

Gay Marriage OK in California

The California Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry is an unfortunate rejection of Christian morality.  Glen Greenwald points out that it’s hardly unexpected given the state’s precedents before going on to say that the democratic process in California legitimizes the ruling, a claim of dubious accuracy, as demonstrated by his source material.  All that said, I think it’s the correct ruling for the same reason as John McCain as does.

McCain opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) because he believes states should set their own marriage laws

While I don’t support equating gay marriage to that of a traditional couple, the California Supreme Court has made its decision and, for better or worse, it’s the state’s decision to make and to the extent that California’s citizens support it, so do I.

That said, given that only a minority of Californians currently say that gay marriage is acceptable, it’s a big jump to say that democracy made this ruling happen.

the latest survey, conducted by Field in February of 2006, shows 43% in favor and 50% opposed

Interestingly, these numbers actually show a decline in support for same-sex marriage from a 2004 poll conducted by the same organization.

What’s really irritating is that, in Glen’s view of the world, even questioning the decision is unthinkable.

anyone who criticizes the Court’s decision without reference to California constitutional law is engaged in rank sophistry or, to use a more familiar term, pure "judicial activism" (i.e., judging a constitutional question based on one’s preferred outcome rather than the requirements of binding constitutional law).

Somehow I think that Mr. Greenwald agrees with the ruling.  Even so, I’m confident that his evaluation of precedent is accurate. 

What’s more interesting is that in considering the 2006 Field poll, Frank Russo wrote:

the shift in support has been dramatic over the years and there are increases of support amongst all age groups. Most significantly, a majority of those born after 1970 now support same sex marriage.

As Russo said last year, it was only a matter of time before California went the way it did.

Why fight it?  As far as California goes, I’m fine with the decision they made for themselves.  While I do not support a national ban on gay marriage, the effect the ruling will have on other states that is concerning because, activism being what it is, it’s also only a matter of time before the battle spreads elsewhere.

Are conservatives supposed to surrender the right to define local norms?   Hardly.  And yet history is against us, what with the federal courts’ habit of actively expanding their powers and demanding homogeneity between states on social issues.

Jason says that social conservatives should "get over it", but I don’t think they will.  Nor should they.  If Texas, for example, wishes to chart its own course by refusing to recognize gay partnerships, that should be left up to Texans to decide.  Yet the pressure for other states to fall in line with California will only increase as time goes by, perhaps ultimately leading to a U.S. Supreme Court case.

Perhaps Jason is right as a matter of pragmatism, but there are such things as principles.  One of the foremost social constructs is that of the natural union of man and woman.  Arguing that traditional marriage is not demeaned by the new definition simply isn’t so, regardless of how easy it is to agree with the coming redefinition or how inclusive one feels while doing so.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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4 thoughts on “Gay Marriage OK in California

  1. If your religion chooses not to recognize gay marriage, that is your right. And I would fight to the death to defend that right for you. Too bad you wouldn’t return the favor.

    But let’s step back: the state has no business validating the “sanctity” of anyone’s religious ritual. The state should be in this matter only insofar as it involves legal/contractual issues. So leave the legal/contractual aspects of marriage in the hands of the state, and make them equally accessible to any couple who wants to marry. That is fair and equitable.

    Let each church determine who they wish to allow to marry within their religion. That way everyone is happy: all of us get to enjoy equal protection under the law and YOU get to practice the hateful bigotry which has become the hallmark of your movement. See – a Win Win. Let’s all join hands an sing kum ba ya!

  2. I’m certainly all for minimalist government, particularly at the federal level. So I agree with a lot of what you’re saying.

    For instance, if a person prefers to have sex with someone of his/her gender, it’s that American’s right to do so. Similarly, I agree that health benefits, inheritance, and other issues, need to be fixed for these couples.

    But with regard to marriage, we have an institution that is the bedrock of civilization as we know it, the current and historical definition of which has always been male/female, the only pairing which can propagate the species. Even a casual examination of the natural world clearly indicates that this is the preferred way of things. The institution of traditional marriage – with all of its faults, traumas, and blessings – needs to be upheld as the standard of what is good, right, and desirable in this country.

    Do we need a federal law dictating that gay marriage is illegal? No.

    Do we need a federal law dictating that gay marriage must be allowed? No.

    The problem with your idea of equal protection is that it grossly distorts the law in favor of marginal groups, robbing dozens or hundreds of people of the ability to pray in school, for example, to protect the sensibilities of one atheist or Hindu.

    How long would it be after gay marriage is legalized before the first lawsuit is filed against a church for refusing to perform a homosexual marriage? Even if there is no legal basis for the suit, the cost of defending their right to religious freedom would be too costly for many churches.

    In my view the solution is to re-write contract laws and re-structure employer (and perhaps federal) health plans to allow money and benefits to be directed as people see fit, without regard to sexual orientation or any other barrier.

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