On Gay Marriage and Prop 8


It disgusts me that in the year 2010, there still exists senseless, illogical debates on crucial issues that pertain to liberty and equality. One would have hoped that by now we would have learned the lessons of our recent history by accepting the fact that people should be treated equally under the law. This nonsense continues through present day in many different shapes and forms, though all characterized by illogical rhetoric. One such onerous debate is regarding the question of gay marriage, and it is to this topic that I dedicate this short discourse.

Before we dive deeper into this somewhat philosophical debate, we need to agree on the principle that one may do whatever one wishes so long one does not harm others. In other words, one's freedoms end when they infringe on another's. Since our current society generally accepts this principle, I feel no need to defend it. Interestingly enough, what angers me about this debate is that it continues regardless of the fact this fundamental principle of freedom is accepted. My position is that gay marriage does not do enough harm to other people to warrant illegalization.

As far as I could tell, the proponents of prop 8, through their advertisements, have purposed three reasons on why gay marriage should be banned. 1 – gay marriage should be banned because the definition of marriage should be preserved. 2 – gay marriage should be banned because if not, our children will learn that it is ok for gays to get married. 3 – gay marriage will ruin the institution of marriage.

The first two reasons obviously do not suffice. Regarding the first reason, I do not see any way how changing the definition of the word hurts other people. In fact, I fail to see how it would even AFFECT other people. Would it make other people sick? Are they going to go to the hospital? Are they going to be stolen from? Of course not. The second reason is almost just as ridiculous. If some people have a personal belief that gays should not marry, then that is what they teach their children. Having their children taught something they do not agree with is not enough to warrant the ban. If it were, then it would be justified to ban interracial marriage if people were to disapprove of it. I find their third argument to be the strongest because I believe they are inferring that gay marriage would lead to the undermining of our society, which would be a legitimate threat. If there were evidence of this threat and if this threat were to be great, then a ban on gay marriage should be considered. However, proponents of prop 8 failed to provide any evidence to support this claim as you shall see in the following passages.

Now that I have gone through the basic principles of this issue, I feel it appropriate to introduce more concrete details. The following excerpts were selected from the prop 8 court case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The selections that I have chosen basically sum up the proponents' reasons for prop 8 and the court's ruling.

I must say that I enjoyed reading this court case very much; I recommend my readers to read it in its entirety. It reveals, without a doubt, the lack of evidence the proponents of prop 8 have for their claims. Without evidence, their claims are just prejudices, and prejudice alone is an insufficient reason to limit other people's freedoms.




Proponents put forth several rationales for Proposition 8, see Doc #605 at 12-15, which the court now examines in turn: (1) reserving marriage as a union between a man and a woman and excluding any other relationship from marriage; (2) proceeding with caution when implementing social changes; (3) promoting opposite- sex parenting over same-sex parenting; (4) protecting the freedom of those who oppose marriage for same-sex couples; (5) treating same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples; and (6) any other conceivable interest.

PURPORTED INTEREST #1: RESERVING MARRIAGE AS A UNION BETWEEN A MAN
AND A WOMAN AND EXCLUDING ANY OTHER RELATIONSHIP

The evidence shows that the tradition of restricting an individual’s choice of spouse based on gender does not rationally further a state interest despite its “ancient lineage.” the evidence shows that the tradition of gender restrictions arose when spouses were legally required to adhere to specific gender roles.

Proposition 8 thus enshrines in the California Constitution a gender restriction that the evidence shows to be nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.

PURPORTED INTEREST #2: PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION WHEN IMPLEMENTING
SOCIAL CHANGES

Plaintiffs presented evidence at trial sufficient to rebut any claim that marriage for same-sex couples amounts to a sweeping social change. See FF 55. Instead, the evidence shows beyond debate that allowing same-sex couples to marry has at least a neutral, if not a positive, effect on the institution of marriage and that same-sex couples’ marriages would benefit the state. Id. Moreover, the evidence shows that the rights of those opposed to homosexuality or same-sex couples will remain unaffected if the state ceases to enforce Proposition 8. FF 55, 62.

The contrary evidence proponents presented is not credible. Indeed, proponents presented no reliable evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry will have any negative effects on society or on the institution of marriage.

PURPORTED INTEREST #3: PROMOTING OPPOSITE-SEX PARENTING OVER SAME-
SEX PARENTING

The evidence does not support a finding that California has an interest in preferring opposite-sex parents over same-sex parents. Indeed, the evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes. FF 70. Moreover, Proposition 8 has nothing to do with children, as Proposition 8 simply prevents same-sex couples from marrying. FF 57. Same-sex couples can have (or adopt) and raise children.

PURPORTED INTEREST #4: PROTECTING THE FREEDOM OF THOSE WHO OPPOSE
MARRIAGE FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES

These purported interests fail as a matter of law. Proposition 8 does not affect any First Amendment right or responsibility of parents to educate their children.

To the extent proponents argue that one of the rights of those morally opposed to same-sex unions is the right to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, as explained presently those individuals’ moral views are an insufficient basis upon which to enact a legislative classification.

PURPORTED INTEREST #5: TREATING SAME-SEX COUPLES DIFFERENTLY FROM
OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES

The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples. See FF 48, 76-80. The evidence fatally undermines any purported state interest in treating couples differently; thus, these interests do not provide a rational basis supporting Proposition 8.

PURPORTED INTEREST #6: THE CATCHALL INTEREST

Finally, proponents assert that Proposition 8 advances “[a]ny other conceivable legitimate interests identified by the parties, amici, or the court at any stage of the proceedings.” Doc #605 at 15. But proponents, amici and the court, despite ample opportunity and a full trial, have failed to identify any rational basis Proposition 8 could conceivably advance. The resulting evidence shows that Proposition 8 simply conflicts with the guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples. ..The evidence shows that, by every available metric, opposite-sex couples are not better than their same-sex counterparts; instead, as partners, parents and citizens, opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples are equal.

A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION

Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.

CONCLUSION

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite- sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.