308.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
On March 7, 2000, 61% of the people of California affirmed that statement. It seems ridiculous that they needed to, given that their state constitution already defined marriage in that state as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary."
So why the need for Proposition 22? Because the Family Code defining marriage, Section 308, went on to say that the state would recognize valid marriages of other states (written with the presumption, of course, that marriages anywhere else would join only a man to a woman). But gay marriage advocates saw that as the "loophole" that could allow gay marriage to be recognized by the state, a foothold that, by reason of differential treatment, could then bring gay marriage fully on board. With the possibility looming then that Hawaii would legalize same-sex marriage, those seeking to preserve the state's original definition (not to mention the ONLY definition, held universally through millenia), led by the late state Senator William Knight, put the vote to the people, and received overwhelming support.
But, the will of the people be damned. As it was last Thursday (May 15, 2008) when the state supreme court decided to overturn a clear public stand, and change only their LABEL to make gays and lesbian couples interchangeable with traditional couples. What I mean is that the ONLY difference between gay/lesbian couples' standing under CA law was the WORD "marriage," since the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 had already conferred on any gays who chose that union total equality with married people:
“[r]egistered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.” (Fam. Code, § 297.5, subd. (a)
Negating the evidence of its eyes,the court erased the only distinction differentiating the committed relationships of a man and a woman from two men or two women. Just like that. Men are interchangeable with women.
What would John Gray say? Men and women are now both from Marnus. Marriage, that once venerable institution whose entire purpose was to bridge and connect opposite genders into a unique combination incomparable to any other--one that can create human life and nurture it in demonstrably the most beneficial setting--was demoted into something any (adult, non-incestuous) duo, with any sexual fit, could claim.
But why the fuss, when it's already been done? Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in May, 2004, and the sky hasn't fallen. Still, just four months later, Massachusetts' first gay spouses filed for divorce. I wish I knew the figures on the percentage of gay marriages that have hit the rocks, but the state doesn't record such information. Despite a dearth of numbers, there's been plenty in the news about gay splits, including fretting articles about Rhode Island's refusal to grant divorces to same-sex spouses married right across its state line.
Given the activism for gay marriage, you'd think that thousands of long-term couples would've immediately stormed Massachusetts city halls and churches after May, 2004 to tie the knot. Not. A paper for the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy by Maggie Gallagher and Joshua Baker looked at Canadian and European gay marriages as well as in Massachusetts, where in the first 18 months, the authors estimate just 16% of gay residents wed. This figure is wildly higher than their international data--for example, in the Netherlands, where in the first few years after legalization, between 2 and 5% of gays held nuptials.
Caren Chesler, writing in Slate Magazine, notes that even before marriage was on the horizon in California, lots of couples who registered as Domestic Partners wanted out: "When
But findings that most gays don't want to get hitched don't explain why they shouldn't. And indeed even the state of California sees no problem with their legally getting all the goodies of marriage, including a "forever" declaration that's tough to worm out of--the Domestic Partner Act grants them that. The only wafer-thin recognition that the union of men with women is fundamentally different than the unions of two-of-a-kind was the word: Marriage.
And now you can kiss that goodbye, too. The court has done what the people would not: pretend the undeniable. And for what?
Lots of people say it's to give gay people the same "rights" as straights--but of course they have exactly the same right to marry one of the opposite sex. Perhaps it's to show homosexuals respect. But given the achievements and prominence of gays, can citizens of 2008 honestly say their homosexual neighbors are downtrodden? Oh, but is Domestic Partnership a step below marriage in status?
Maybe so--for good reason.
There are two dirty little secrets regarding the gay and liberal/progressive agenda touting same-sex marriage. First, domestic partnership IS a step below marriage, because domestic partnerships are worth less to society than marriages. Second, liberals endorse gay marriage not just for altruism--but because of some desirable sexual consequences for them.
Tackling the first dirty little secret: Nobody's willing to admit in this walk-on-eggshells, PC world that two-of-a-kind marriage is less helpful to society than conventional marriage--but it is. Conventional marriage in its natural manifestations under usual, healthy circumstances brings children into the world, and provides the best environment for nurturing them to sane and productive adulthood. It offers role models for both genders, and, more importantly, role models on behaviors that work (and sometimes, don't) in creating a harmonious marriage. Children learn "how to be married" by watching their parents' interaction. There are bountiful data showing consequences of divorce and early trauma--as well as of growing up in a happy, stable home.
This is not to say that children raised in differing environments turn out badly. Just that far and away kids' best chance for lifelong confidence and inter-gender skills comes from a two-parent, functional family. Children in a loving homosexual home can turn out great--but they're missing part of the gender equation. Sorry, it's not just being loved that equips kids for life--it's being loved AND a host of other factors that research shows are best facilitated when Mom and Dad are on the scene together.
On to dirty little secret number two: Straight liberals/progressives are loathe to admit it, but driving their support for gay marriage (as opposed to support for equal treatment and benefits) is the slackening of sexual standards that creating a flabby definition of marriage brings. If what gays do has the same respect as what straights do, then...there's a lot less judgment and restriction on sexuality in general. Remember, what gays do sexually with each other can never produce children--can never bring a new soul to the world. What gays do sexually is for pleasure only. The key being ONLY. And, by equating acts that have a permanent consequence with those with only a momentary climax, we define downward our purpose as human beings, from time-transcendent to selfishly ephemeral.
I can see you squirming. Certainly within marriage, providing pleasure to a spouse is not only acceptable, but important. Certainly marriages where procreation is not a possibility are valid and worthy of respect (as are commitments between two gays). But speaking in generalities, about classes of relationships, traditional marriages are more essential and crucial for society because they are the source of its continuation and continuity.
Gay marriage divorces sexuality from marriage; marriage becomes merely a declaration of love and a source of personal status. With sexuality disconnected from marriage, then those whose sexual appetites lead them outside their marriages (Bill Clinton comes to mind) need not face scorn. By elevating gay relationships, gay sex, to the "sacred" status of marriage, the range of acceptable sexual behavior widens. OK, he had sex on the Great Seal in the Oval Office. Get over it.
I was born and raised in California. Both my parents were born and raised in California. I love the state; it's my home (I'm still searching for bright light living now in the Northwest). But even if Arnold refuses to veto this redefinition of the most fundamental of institutions, I'm confident that in November the people will once again affirm that only a man and a woman can enter into that most mystical and mysterious union called marriage.