Possibly the most important vote for Californians next week is on Proposition 8, the “Eliminates Right of Same–Sex Couples to Marry”/”California Marriage Protection Act” measure. Since California is going to vota Obama, while the polls for Proposition 8 are relatively close, US electoral mechanics mean that each individual vote on 8 is more significant than on the Presidential vote.
Before reading the text of Proposition 8, I had been hoping that it said something like “marriage in California shall be between a man and a woman”, because then maybe I could have voted for it and followed my vote with a lawsuit insisting that the intent of the law was that this meant one man and one woman and that we needed to choose a single lucky couple to be California’s lone marriage.
Sadly, they didn’t make that mistake, and instead it reads:
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Obviously, this is a completely repugnant proposition: marriage is a legally privileged legal state, and therefore it’s simply unacceptable to discriminate against some people’s access to it.
All the rest of the jumk around this comes from confusion around whether marriage is a religious or legal entity; from rank prejudice against homosexuality; and from inane claims that allowing gay marriage will somehow damage the “social fabric”. Well, that, and a desire to control (indirectly if directly is no longer possible) the sex lives of other people.
There’s a significant chance the Proposition 8 would fail, which would essentially be an endorsement by the state’s voters of gay marriage. That would be a rather major advance, particularly since Proposition 22 passed 61.4% to 38.6% just eight years ago. To reverse that, even by a small margin, a mere eight years later would be rapid progress indeed, and I’d like to read it as part of a general move towards tolerance in this part of the country.