Proposition 8 has passed. I am disgusted.
This event exposed one of democracy’s terrible faults: the tyranny of the majority over the minority. A gay couple’s right to marriage is not simply a political, religious, or social discussion. It is an issue of civil rights. It is an issue of bigotry.
I am appalled this constitutional amendment passed in California of all places, the birthplace of the civil rights movement. I have always seen California as the state that, more than any other, serves as a catalyst for change. I was born here, in the Southland, and I find my sense of pride in that fact fading slightly. I am so severely disappointed and ashamed.
Of what consequence is gay marriage to those who voted yes? I have had discussions with some of these people on the matter, and each one of those discussions inevitably descended into one of two things: mindless vagaries or misguided religious zeal.
‘I don’t like it when gay guys hit on me,’ said one man who told me he planned on voting yes, as though marriage had anything to do with that. The unstated problem here is that people find gay relationships unsavory, and it somehow offends their sensibilities. That, or people feel that gay marriage will dilute ‘traditional’ heterosexual marriage, and make it less sacred, as though marriage were an exclusive club available only to those willing to subscribe to a twisted sense of etiquette.
Then there is religion. It is the mobilization of the church that ultimately defeated this fundamental right. Mormon financial support and pulpit propaganda, more than any other factor, worked to pass this proposition. While I am confident that there is a sizeable number of church-goers and preachers who did the right thing ‘- voted to defeat the proposition ‘- I realize that the reason it passed was due to a group of delusional individuals who soak up the nonsense spat at them by the church, people who believe there are cosmic or spiritual laws that prohibit homosexuality.
But I should point out that it is not merely the content of the proposition that disturbs me. After all, I am not gay and I care very little about marriage itself, whether gay or straight. What disturbs me is the unending entitlement people feel to interject themselves into the lives of others. I understand that what I care about is not the same as what my fellow men and women care about and that my happiness is not the same as another person’s. I have no right to pass judgment on what that happiness should be. No one does.
This is the only time in recent history a state has actually modified its constitution to take rights away from people rather than give rights. And in this particular state’s constitution, the very first line reads as follows: ‘All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are… obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.’
Allowing gays the right to marry is certainly a component of their happiness, should they desire it. Any reasonable person has no stake in the happiness of others, and if they do, they are no better than parasites, sucking from others what they themselves have too little of. If gays cannot marry, they are not free and independent, but dependent upon the tyranny of the majority. This is an infraction every free and independent soul should deplore with all their being, even if their views differ radically from one another’s. For if we are a society that values happiness and privacy, we are the worst kind of hypocrites for making the private love of others a public issue.
Lambda Legal and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court to challenge Proposition 8 on the basis that it overturns the constitution’s commitment to equality and minority protection. I sincerely hope they are successful, but if they are not I still see no cause for serious despair. It may take decades, and Proposition 8 will certainly act as a major setback, but if the progression of civil rights in this country is any indication, it will happen. Gays will have equal rights in America.