I will be voting against Proposition 8, which seeks to change the state’s constitution to eliminate the judicially invented right to same sex marriage. The constitution would be amended to add the language: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
I am angry about the California Supreme Court’s attempt to take this matter out of voters’ hands, and part of me wants to support the measure just to flip the bird to the justices. Ultimately, however, I support the right of homosexuals to marry one another, and so I will be voting no.
I have already made the arguments in the past. In this post I assessed the pros and cons of banning gay marriage. Here’s my view of the downside:
The downside of banning gay marriage is that homosexuals are made to feel that they are second-class citizens. I don’t know whether being gay is genetic, a learned behavior, or some combination of the two — but I am confident that it is something that people do not consciously choose. I certainly did not consciously choose to be sexually attracted to women; that is hard-wired into me somehow. I can’t imagine it’s different for gay men.
Since gays do not consciously choose their sexual orientation, refusing to give them access to an institution available to heterosexuals is discrimination. The policy question is whether this discrimination is justified on a societal level.
My conclusion is that it is not.
Those who want to ban gay marriage advance many alleged benefits of such a ban. One of their main arguments is that marriage is the cornerstone of our civilization — and if it is defined as anything other than its traditional meaning of a union between a man and a woman, it risks losing all meaning. In that same post, I disagreed with that argument, saying:
People get married for all sorts of reasons: love, companionship, stability, raising a family, and financial reasons, just to name a few. People stay married for a similarly wide variety of reasons. I don’t think that, for heterosexuals, the availability of marriage to homosexuals plays any part in the calculus of whether they get married, or whether they stay married.
Indeed, I have never heard a single heterosexual person blame the failure of his or her marriage on the availability of homosexual marriage. And if someone tried, I suspect they would be seen as scapegoating.
I know most readers will disagree with me on this, and I certainly don’t intend to demonize the view of those who support a traditional view of marriage. But I happen to disagree with them. I support gay marriage, and that’s the way I’m going to vote.