Monday, October 27, 2008

Arguments in favor of Proposition 8

As expected, Saturday's no on Proposition 8 column prompted quite a response, which included a good number of counter-arguments as to why the proposition should be passed. A few responses to the top three Prop. 8 Support arguments, with a sincere thank you to all those alert readers who wrote in:

"If Prop. 8 fails, my church will be forced to accept an agenda that it has always and will always uphold or face lawsuits and have its tax status revoked."

I share the concern that churches and religious organizations be allowed to practice freely and without government interference. While I think the state has a responsibility to grant the same rights to same-sex couples as it does to heterosexual couples, churches should be free to marry who they want, including saying no to couples that don’t adhere to their religious standards. The First Amendment is there to protect churches from government intrusion as much as it is to protect government from becoming an arm of religion.

Luckily, Prop. 8 has no bearing on this issue. The court ruling that overturned the ban on same-sex marriages expressly states: “no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

So if Prop. 8 fails, California churches will still have the autonomy and authority to judge who is worthy of marriage under that belief system. But the state will no longer be able to discriminate.

"...Voters who vote against Prop 8 are voting themselves out of their right to vote. Do you realize that no matter what the 'issue' happens to be, what has actually happened here is that the California Supreme Court judges have overturned the vote of the people. They have taken away a vote that the voice of the people had a right to."

The courts have a responsibility to read and review the laws of the land and overturn those that are unconstitutional — even those passed directly by the voters.

In the case of the 4-3 decision in the California Supreme Court, a Republican-dominated court exercised the same type of power displayed in the decisions of Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia, in overturning popular laws because they denied other people of their legal civil rights.

This function of the court could very superficially be seen as undemocratic because it can override the will of the people, who are supposed to have the largest say over governance in our system. However, it truly embodies the republican spirit of our government because it prevents a tyranny of the majority, ensuring the protection of the rights of all people — not only those who happen to be in the majority.

To paraphrase Paul, what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.

I, too, share the fear of a government that takes rights away from its populace, but I fear as much as a tyrannical government a tyrannical populace, willing to deny their fellow citizens unalienable civil rights based on gender, religious persuasion, race, sexual orientation, or any other difference that has no bearing on a person’s capacity as a citizen. Ideally, the courts are a check and a balance against both an overzealous government and an overzealous populace.

"Like you said ... marriage is a building block for communities. It's all about the KIDS. Children have a fundamental right to be raised by a father and mother. Studies that found that this is the most desirable situation, but in places where same sex marriage is allowed adoption agencies will be FORCED to give same sex couples equal standing when that is not the best thing for the child."

Letting the government into this aspect of life sets a dangerous precedent. Just because a mother-father combination is ideal (let's concede the point for the sake of argument) does that mean the government outlaws other arrangements like single-parent households, grandparents who raise their grandchildren as their own kids, or godparents who take over when parents cannot handle the load?

No. This is because there is freedom of association in the USA, and that includes choosing who you build a family with. The government has no business telling its citizens how to build their families, and that precept should apply to same-sex couples.

Furthermore, consider how many broken homes and abusive situations stem from heterosexual marriages. A child who has two loving same-sex parents committed to one another in building a family and becoming a part of their community would be in a far more “ideal” situation than a child dealing with a divorce or unhappy heterosexual parents. I think that anything that encourages loving people who want to be parents to raise children as responsible citizens is a benefit for communities.

Thanks again to everyone who left a comment or sent an e-mail. Let's do this again sometime.

No comments: