Restore My Fundamental Right to Marry

On May 16, 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex couples throughout the state recognizing our fundamental right to marriage.

“Our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation,” Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the majority opinion. “An individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.” (Source)

This essentially classified sexual orientation as a categorization that could NOT be used to treat people differently. When he was interviewed, Chief Justice George said that his past experience of witnessing segregation in the south when his family first came to this country, and the impression it made on him as a child, came to his mind in how same-sex couples were being treated.

Along comes the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, and the Knights of Columbus along with other organizations and churches including Saddleback Community Church of Orange County, CA. They decide that they want to put individual’s civil rights up for the vote by the majority. They draft Proposition 8, a voter initiative to amend the state constitution that simply states:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

The Proposition passed by a narrow 3% majority, thus eliminating the right for same-sex couples to marry. There is one problem, however. In California, Constitutional Amendments passed by a voter initiative need to be reviewed by the State Legislature first, which didn’t happen. Right now, three lawsuits are filed against the passage of Proposition 8, and the future of same-sex couples is currently in limbo – not to mention the status of those who wed during the time it was legal.

Simply put, the mob majority stripped my partner and I of our right to marry – an INALIENABLE right guaranteed to us by the State Constitution. The arguments against gay marriage range everywhere from religious arguments, to “what about the children” to the ridiculous “my church will lose its tax-exemption if it refuses to wed gay couples!”

To this I reply on simple word: “Bullshit.” First off, the court ruled in our favor to give us same-sex marriage BECAUSE they were looking out for the children of same-sex couples (approximately 25% of gay couples have kids according to the latest census.) Religious arguments are invalid in legal issues – we have a clear separation of church and state in this country. That same separation is what protects churches from losing tax-exemption if they turn away a gay couple from being wed. Anyone who comes from a mixed-faith couple who tries to wed in the Catholic Church knows all too well that the church can refuse to marry anyone without repercussion; so that shoots that ridiculous argument out of the water.

What it all boils down to is the fact that homophobic people in the state decided to throw gay couples under the bus and keep them marginalized and dehumanized by stripping them of their rights. The protest signs seen everywhere across the state speak the truth:

Examine your own homophobia. Keep your church out of the state. Practice whatever faith you believe in, but don’t oppress others with it. And give me back my FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to marry!


3 Responses to “Restore My Fundamental Right to Marry”

  1. countryjim13 Says:

    Here is the perfect argument against the idea of preserving the “traditional” definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. It is Chief Justice George, explaining in the majority opinion for In Re Marriages Cases, why we can not rely on history in determining who has the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to marry.

    “Although, as an historical matter, civil marriage and the rights associated with it traditionally have been afforded only to opposite-sex couples, this court’s landmark decision 60 years ago in Perez v. Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 7114 — which found that California’s statutory provisions prohibiting interracial marriages were inconsistent with the fundamental
    constitutional right to marry, notwithstanding the circumstance that statutory prohibitions on interracial marriage had existed since the founding of the state — makes clear that history alone is not invariably an appropriate guide for determining the meaning and scope of this fundamental constitutional guarantee. The decision in Perez, although rendered by a deeply divided court, is a judicial opinion whose legitimacy and constitutional soundness are by now universally recognized.” ( Pgs 5-6)

  2. Chris Norman Says:

    If we are to keep the “Church out of the State,” as you pose, then government ought not to recognize marriage of any type, heterosexual or homosexual…

    Just pointing out the obvious.

  3. Well, but here’s the problem with the “libertarian” approach that you pose. Marriage as a legal institution is in place to protect property rights. It allows those who choose to merge assets to have legal protections in place to preserve ownership rights to mutual property, inheritance rights, legal powers of attorney during times of crisis or health emergency, and many other protections – all centered around economy and property. Those protections are in place in order to create order in our society and to support a prosperous and functional economy. Similarly, when the marriage has to end, there are laws in place protecting each party involved and making sure that the assets are fairly divided, and to ensure the future financial security of the separating individuals.

    If you don’t have legal recognition of marriage, and you don’t have a legal way to handle the merging and separating of assets, then you end up with a chaotic system that would not only end us screwing certain folks out of their just due financial compensation out of a lifetime of support and financial involvement, but you also create real problems around inheritance and power of attorney in times of crisis.

    That’s one of the many reasons that libertarianism never works out. It assumes that everything will be better if the government just stays out of the picture, but the problem is that society needs government as it has clearly demonstrated time and time again that it can’t handle conflict and disputes on its own. Unfortunately, responsible adults are all too prone to act like neither.

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