Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Democracy Might be Hijacked

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear three lawsuits challenging Proposition 8--you know that gay marriage ban that was passed with 52% of the vote.

I am pretty sure I have said this in the past, but despite my rather conservative nature on most things, on this matter I am really of a libertarian mind on this matter. I have to admit that my position on this score has changed in recent years/months. I may have been opposed at one time in the past.

The ban on gay marriage is premised upon the historical and religious notion the main purpose of marriage is the furtherance of teh species, i.e. to have kids. However in modern civil society, we generally have acknowledged that medical science can help traditional man/woman couples have children. In previous times, these families would have to adopt or simply accept their fate that they won't have kids. We as a society have also accepted the notion of gay couples adopting children (most conservatives don't like it and some religious institutions such as Catholic Charities refueses to place children in gay homes), but it is a part of our society now.

I can appreciate the religious and moral objections that many conservatives may have on this issue. However, there is no civil reason why gay couples can't get married. In civil society, marriage is simply a short cut for certain legal protections, most of which can be accomplished in other legal methods.

So that is my position on gay marriage. But having said that, I have a real problem with taking the matter to court. This was a proposition that was properly put on the ballot in California. It was voted on in the most direct manner possible, by the voters of the state. They have decided that it shall be the law that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman. That is democracy at work. Now we have gay activists who are upset that they lost the fight at this point and want to hijack the democractic process that is the law of the land in California.

Therein lies the problem. Instead of trying to convince the electorate, gay activists are targeting a very small, unrepresentative sample of California--the Supreme Court--rather than attempting to convince the entire electorate. In doing so I will tell you what will happen the next time this issue comes up on the ballot--gay marriage will be defeated--resoundingly because voters will want to make a statement that they are the final arbiters of the issue--not the court.

No comments: