Monday, March 23, 2009

Wiping Out Rights--Not Possible with Proposition 8 in California

An article in the Thursday Wall Street Journal about gay marriage in California caught my eye. In his "Law Journal" column, Geoffrey A. Fowler offers his update on the battle to strike or uphold the people's clarification of the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Needless to say--though absurdly, apparently necessary to say--the framers of California's state constitution in 1849 assumed "marriage" could only mean the joining of a man and a woman. But last year, the state supreme court did not hold that way--so the people voted to make their intention clear.

Last week, arguments supporting voters' will (Proposition 8) were made by Ken Starr, and opposed by former "Governor Moonbeam" Jerry Brown. It looks like the court will uphold Proposition 8, "partly out of respect for California's initiative process," throwing 18,000 gay "marriages" performed between May and the voters' reaction into doubt.

Ken Starr pointed out that a "legal notion" of "the putative spouse doctrine" would let those marriages continue, since it basically grandfathers in relationships made by those believing their joining was actually marriage, even if they really weren't.

The Journal piece says this "could open yet another legal challenge from an unmarried gay couple saying they are being treated unequally. 'We haven't seen this kind of targeted wiping out of a specific group's rights before,' says David Cruz, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of law."

Reading that nearly cost me my dinner. Well DUH, of course marriages between two of the same gender would be treated differently than marriages between opposites! They are basically, fundamentally, irreducibly different! Resisting the effort to homogenize two sexes into one doesn't imply one is inferior but recognizes the reality that they are different. All the popular paperbacks out there written by scientists telling us that women's brains are different from men's brains, and every cell in their bodies clearly marked as either male or female don't seem to be enough to convince these agenda-driven crusaders of simple fact.

Okay. Maybe one or two of these guys admit that male and female are different, but they think that shouldn't matter--for the purpose of marriage, they should be interchangeable. The mantra is "a person should be able to marry whomever he or she chooses."

Well, tough luck, even if gay marriage were the law, no one would be able to marry whom he or she chooses. A person could not marry his sibling. A person could not marry a second or third or fourth spouse. A person could not marry a child. A person could not marry his pet.

At least, not legally. I suppose a person could indeed perform a little ceremony and "marry" his sister or son or goat. But the government wouldn't recognize it, and I doubt gay activists would, either.

But the part of the article quote above that really irks me is not the fact gay marriage advocates ignore (and likely support!) continued restrictions on marriage. What gets my...well, the stupidity and ignorance of this David Cruz, supposedly aware of the legal rulings of his state, who suggests that any "rights" of gays who choose to legally couple would be removed or lost. And the reason for that is that California has a law, enacted in January, 2005, that specifically gives registered domestic partners in that state "the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under the granted to married spouses." (California Family Code, Section 297-297.5)

But gays don't want all the rights and protections they claim to want; they've already got them. They want the word marriage specifically in order to erase any differences between the sexes, for the purpose of changing morals--so that their sexual act is just as respectable, lofty and important to society as the sexuality of heterosexuals who, theoretically at least, may create the next generation.

I'm not a homophobe. I have gay close relatives and gay friends, and I hope they enjoy their lives with whomever they please. But to suggest that the consequences of their sex act, and even their permanent human commitment, is as valuable and important to society as the combining of opposites--i.e. that society has an equal stake in recognizing or setting aside their union--is a denial of reality. The joining of male and female is different than the joining of two males or two females, and I personally believe the effort to shrug off and eliminate noting that is insane.

Professor Cruz, California citizens who voted for Proposition 8 seek no "targeted wiping out of a specific group's rights." The rights of gays to form permanent unions, simply called "domestic partnerships" in recognition of obvious differences between genders, stands. Nobody's rights for all the benefits and obligations of marriage change one bit. Well, perhaps those who want to use the word the way it's been used for thousands of years--our rights are under assault.

Marriage has a definition that recognizes undeniable sex differences. That's the issue. It's not some evil plot to remove "rights."