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Thread: Today's Prop 8 decision

  1. #1

    Default Today's Prop 8 decision

    I'm surprised a thread hasn't been started about this already, but I have a few thoughts I'd like to share, and get other peoples opinions on:

    I want to start by saying that I'm very pleased by the Prop 8 decision today.

    I read the majority of the 136 page decision (small for what it covers) and a few things stand out at me:

    1) The Attorney General of California actually declined to defend the amendment stating that the amendment is unconstitutional.

    2) Of the 6 expert witnesses that the defendants attempted to bring, only 2 made it as far as the trial, and of those one was found to be not credible - mostly on his inability to present a reasoned argument, which most of the time actually agreed with the plaintiffs.

    3) The Judge presented a well reasoned and well put together argument.

    However, there's a few things that I want to say to all my gay brothers and lesbian sisters:

    1) This is far from over. The judge has placed an injunction on gay marriages in the state until an appeal is decided on. This _WILL_ be appealed. It will go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then eventually to the Supreme Court. Until the Supreme Court rules on this, everything will stay exactly the way it is now. This is going to take another 18-24 months to be over, if not longer.

    2) This is the one I feel most strongly about. I have seen a lot of comments today from friends, from friends of friends, and random strangers making insulting, obscene, or personal attacks against people who are upset at today's decision. And honestly, this makes me sadder than the fact that those people who voted for Prop 8 to begin with.

    There is a time, and a place, and this is neither. The vast majority of people who voted for Prop 8 are no different than the vast majority of people who voted against it. They're all individual people, all with different reasons for voting the way they did.

    Some probably didn't care one way or the other, and just flipped a switch. Some people were probably confused by all the rabid propaganda and militaristic force that BOTH sides were campaigning for this issue. Some people are just scared of change. Some people are working under the negative stereotypes that started in the late 70s. And some honestly looked at the issues, searched their hearts, their minds, and their souls, and made the decision that was best for them. And ALL of these reasons apply to people who voted BOTH sides.

    And yes, some are rabid religious nut-jobs (and let's face it, some are anti-religious nut-jobs with an equal amount of crazy at the other end of the spectrum) who want to destroy everything that doesn't match their world view. But I honestly believe that the number of people who voted through the haze of religious nut-jobbery (or anti-religious nut-jobbery) are far outnumbered by normal people trying to go about their lives as best they can. And some of those normal people today are upset because their vote got overturned.

    They feel betrayed by the system. They see "liberal" judges making decisions that go against what they voted for. Few of them are going to sit down and read a 136 page decision. They're going to get their news from CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or their local news station. And all they are going to hear is "Prop 8 was overturned." They're not going to find out that the expert witnesses for the defense agreed on almost every point with the prosecution. They're not going to understand what "Equal Protection Under the Fourteenth Amendment" means. They have a family, and a job, and are struggling to make ends meet, and then they're going to hear this little sound bite of news, and they're going to lash out, because their lives aren't going as well as they'd like, and there is so much that's out of their control every day, and some of them are just going to snap and be angry and write nasty notes online because this is something they can be angry about that won't affect their day-to-day lives.

    And I understand it. I felt that way when Prop 8 passed to begin with. But you know what? Now is not the time for us in the gay community to lash back and say "Hahaha, I told you so." or to hurl insults back. If there was ever a time to be gracious winners it's now. Step back and say, "I understand how you feel." Express sympathy toward what they are perceiving and gently educate them on how the process actually works. Show them the 14th amendment and explain the role of the Judge isn't to act against the will of the people, but instead is to ensure that the laws that the people are passing work within the frameworks that our nation is built around. Also explain that this is far from over, and it could still go either way.

    Hurling insults and obscenities back at these people - be it the religious nut-jobs or Average Joe off the street - does more harm to our cause at this stage than good.

    That's not to say that I don't look forward to the day when (and if) I have a boyfriend I want to make my husband.

  2. #2



    Well your sentiment is fair, and probably correct, and I am against insulting people like that in any fashion, but we need to clear things up:

    The people who are for Prop 8 are, simply put, bigots. Bigotry NEVER deserves sympathy or empathy and NEVER should be tolerated.

    However, it can be addressed in a hell of a better manner than some are addressing it with today. I do agree with that. Usually, the BEST thing to do with bigotry is to meet it with calmness and logic, even and ESPECIALLY when the issue is so much of a hot issue.

  3. #3



    That was quite frankly one of the most well written and insightful posts I've ever seen. You're correct; the battle is far from over however I think those that are so opposed to gay marriage are afraid to really bring it up too many levels further. Honestly my gut tells me at this point the supreme court would uphold this decision, with justice Kennedy being the deciding swing vote on it.

    Sure, there's the bigots out there but banning same sex marriage has no merit and no ill effects on society and today's ruling proved it. The equal protection amendment in the constitution is meant to be there to protect minority classes of people. Heck, if it wasn't for that I'm sure that it would have taken much longer for society to accept INTERRACIAL marriage. In today's world banning that I'm sure seems ridiculous (excepting perhaps the KKK). However that was a real issue only a generation or so ago.

    Today, the constitution of the United States prevailed.

    Oh, and a little snippet the judge who made this ruling was appointed by Ronald Reagan... just saying.

  4. #4


    In a nutshell, it was a referendum on the ballot at the time of the last presidential election that allowed the voters to decide whether they wanted California to recognize gay marriages. In the end, voters decided NOT to acknowledge gay marriages in the state of California. However, the idea of majority rule on this issue has been supposed by many to be unconstitutional.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Linkitty View Post

    Well your sentiment is fair, and probably correct, and I am against insulting people like that in any fashion, but we need to clear things up:

    The people who are for Prop 8 are, simply put, bigots. Bigotry NEVER deserves sympathy or empathy and NEVER should be tolerated.

    However, it can be addressed in a hell of a better manner than some are addressing it with today. I do agree with that. Usually, the BEST thing to do with bigotry is to meet it with calmness and logic, even and ESPECIALLY when the issue is so much of a hot issue.
    With all respect, I disagree with your classification of the majority of the people as bigots. The definition of "Bigot" is:

    A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
    This implies a person who has more than a passing interest in the topic (The word "interest" here to mean has educated themselves enough to HAVE an opinion concrete enough to be devoted to).

    13,402,566 valid votes were cast on Proposition 8, 7,001,084 of them in favor. I will grant you that a non-insignificant percentage of those 7 million and change votes were cast by a bigot. But I would find it exceptionally hard to believe that that number is more than 10% of those 7 million. The other 90% are more likely under-educated and under-informed about what the proposition actually meant, not just in terms of the language, but also the societal and economic ramifications. Mind you, there are just as many bigots on the gay side of the aisle as there are on the straight side.

    The difference here is attitude, opportunity, and resources:

    Attitude: A bigot doesn't want to know more than s/he already knows. They know what they know and that's good enough for them, no matter how right it is. The under-informed may be apathetic or uninterested. Or perhaps they are neither of those, but lack...

    Opportunity: Frequently, a bigot will have had the opportunity to learn more, but refuses to take it. As bigots tend to be vocal in their opinions, they will attract people of both the same and opposite opinions. The under-informed, however, may never have had the chance to speak with someone, or read the correct materials. This could be because they are busy dealing with their own lives. Or perhaps they lack the...

    Resources: This is one place where the bigot and the under-informed may both be working in the same scenario. Perhaps neither type of person personally knows someone who is gay well enough to discuss personal issues. Or perhaps they don't have access to the Internet, or don't feel comfortable using the Internet - not everyone is technology savvy. One of the big problems with doing research is you have to have an idea of what you're looking for first.

    But in the end, the biggest difference is that the under-informed, when presented with actual facts - and not spouted rhetoric (like was being thrown about by BOTH sides during that time) - will consider what they have learned and will make an educated decision. Whereas a bigot will continue on their merry way.

    And in all honesty, I highly respect those people who, when presented with actual facts, make an informed opinion. Even when it differs from my own. Because those are the people who say, "I understand where you stand, and what your position is, but I just don't agree." And leave it at that.

    But that's not what we had. What we had was 6.3 million people (7 mil minus my 10% bigots) who were average, every day people who had nothing but the rhetoric spouted by both sides. And when you have 2.5 kids, a house, a dog, and an economy that's starting to tank, and some religious leader is saying on TV that "Teh Gays Are Coming For Your Children" you're going to go into defensive mode and protect what you know. That isn't bigotry, that's human nature.

    I honestly, truly believe that if you catch those same people at a different time, in slightly different circumstances and present them with what the actual, legal definition of marriage is in the United States and what it actually means and provides - without the religious meaning behind it, that the majority of them would go, "Oh, is that all?" But instead, they get the sound bites on the news, and you can't provide a comprehensive explanation of the issue in a 2 minute news segment.

  6. #6


    I believe that you are working under a misconception, one that is exceptionally common in the United States.

    In the US we have two definitions for the word "marriage." The first is a religious definition, wherein two people are making a promise before their deity (or deities depending on the religion).

    The second is the legal definition. THIS is what homosexual couples are fighting for. The ability to declare to the government that they are making a long term partnership with another person, and wish to confer certain legal rights to that other person. For example, the ability to assist in the making of health care, financial, and legal decisions together.
    This is only sightly different from entering into a business partnership with someone, just covering different things.

    Unfortunately, this is an area where religious terminology influenced legal terminology, and because of that the two definitions get caught up with each other, and people have a hard time separating them. It also doesn't help that a religious leader (priest, rabbi, pastor, or any other registered religious leader) can legally marry someone as well as perform their own religious rites.

  7. #7


    If only we could, but frequently these bills are hundreds of pages in length, and are generally filled with highly technical legal language. Thus the average person is forced to rely on summaries and lobbyists to help educate them on the bill in question.

    Unfortunately, in the case of Proposition 8, we had the added complexity that the phrasing of the bill was less than clear on what a "Yes" vote and a "No" vote actually meant.

  8. #8


    No problem. It just goes back to what I was saying before. Your knee-jerk reaction was "No!" based largely on religious grounds (from what I saw) but I hope you take this opportunity to learn more about what is actually happening and is actually at stake not just in CA, but nationwide. These fights are happening in every state and at the federal level. And if you spend the time, and ask the questions and learn about the issues, and still feel that you are against gay marriage, then I will respect that.

    If you want to discuss it more, you're free to send me a PM, and I'll be happy to help.

  9. #9


    There's nothing in the US constitution (or that of any state as far as I know) that prohibits it. Rather, the constitution doesn't say either way, which has led to many laws being enacted and thrown out by courts regarding it. In then end, I do believe it'll be decided after the appeals that prop 8 is unconstitutional, and I expect that more and more states will have their gay marriage laws challenged in court (unless of course the supreme court decides that all laws denying same sex marriages to be unconstitutional, but I'm not ready to say I think that's going to happen just yet).

    You're entitled to your opinion and religious beliefs, however they're irrelevant in deciding the constitutionality of such a measure. Really what we're looking at here is a good example of "tyranny of the majority". This country was founded on the principle that the rights of its citizens shall be protected, even for those who are in the minority or are for whatever reason unpopular. The idea that the majority can take rights away from a particular group of people is, frankly, a bit frightening.

    On topic, I agree with the OP. There's no need to sneer at people who voted for prop 8. I don't believe the issue should be about whether people believe in gay marriage or not, but rather whether such a vote ought to have been allowed in the first place. People are entitled to their personal opinions, and if we judge them for that, then we're no better.

    Personally I don't even feel strongly either way about gay marriage. Not to sound callous, but it's just not something I spend lots of time pondering. However, I do believe strongly that laws prohibiting it are unconstitutional, and that they'll be decided as such eventually.

  10. #10


    Something else another friend of mine just brought up on Live Journal is the idea that Civil Right should never have come up for a vote in the first place. And while I agree, I also added the following:

    I agree, basic civil rights should never be up for public ballot.

    But, part of the rule of law in this country is that you can get anything on a ballot for an election if you can get enough signatures from the general population. In truth, that's a GOOD thing, as it gives the opportunity for voice to be granted to some who might otherwise not have it.

    And that's also why we have 3 branches of government.

    Until this evening, I followed Adam Baldwin on Twitter. I follow quite a few celebrities that I enjoy watching or listening to, because I like to see what projects they are working on, or catch some backstage photos, stuff like that. Occasionally, Baldwin would post something political, and I could tell that his political leaning is fairly Republican. That's fine, I tend to lean that way about half the time myself.

    The straw that broke the camels back for me came this afternoon after the decision was released, when he started posting about "activist" judges and denying the will of the people. And then retweeting others. Shortly thereafter I unfollowed him.

    I bring this up because I truly feel that the concept of what a Federal District Court Judge is supposed to do has started to drift out of the public consciousness in recent decades, and they are perceived to be tools of the Executive Branch more often than not.

    But the truth is, the purpose of the Judge is to examine those bills passed by the legislative branch or by the people through popular referendum (like Prop 8) and determine the constitutionality of those bills.

    So far, everything about the _process_ of Prop 8 has gone exactly as it is supposed to. I still think that Civil Rights should never have needed to be put on a ballot, but since someone did...

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