Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana

Gay Marriage redux

Everyone's posted about the great news from the California Supreme Court today. There are two things about the story that I haven't heard discussed much, though.

The first is that there is likely to be a proposition to amend the California constitution on the ballot next November to reverse this decision. Since the arguments overturning the decision were based on close readings of the California constitution, I've read that the case is very unlikely to go to the Supreme Court, but opposition groups have vowed to get the issue put on the ballot. I figure most of my (California-based, US citizen) friends are planning to vote anyway, but let this be another reason. Such a proposition will certainly bring more opponents wanting to overturn this decision out of the woodwork, and such a possibility worries me, both for the future of this decision and about the election results more generally.

The second is just an observation about the ahistorical hubris of the opposition's "this goes against the will of the people" argument. This assertion of theirs is based on the results of a 2000 proposition, put on the ballot in a very small election, to define marriage in the usual narrow and bigoted way -- and it passed. But even aside from this narrow definition of the "people" as those (relatively) few who turned out for that election, I hate this "will of the people" argument. It was equally "against the will of the [majority of] people" to do away with slavery, to integrate schools and public services in the 1950s, to allow interracial marriage, and to enforce equal rights in various other arenas, but that doesn't mean the will of the people is right, fair, or just. The same "separate but equal" arguments have been applied in separating "marriage" and "civil union" as were used to legalize (continued) segregation. The California Supreme Court rightly recognized the historical and logical flaws in this argument and ruled that the civil and legal institution of marriage, or whatever you want to call it, has to have not only the same rights and benefits but the same name for all.
Tags: feminism, gay marriage, politics

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