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California: Today Gay Marriage, Tomorrow Meteors and Volcanoes

The California Supreme Court made a 4-3 decision this week that will legalize gay marriage in California, most likely effective within 30 days.  As reported by the New York Times:
This decision will give Americans the lived experience that ending exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, who noted that same-sex marriages were legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
The timing of this action, coming only months before the US presidential elections in November, have led to speculation on whether or not it will hurt the Democratic nominee.  Alex Altman wrote an article in Time Magazine asking, “Will Gay Marriage Help the GOP?”:
California Republicans are hoping that history will prove instructive. After Massachusetts became the first state to codify marriage equality in 2003, the G.O.P. spent the ensuing general election wielding the issue as a potent weapon. Thirteen states passed ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage — including Ohio, the battleground that tipped the 2004 election in George W. Bush's favor. Opponents of gay marriage in California have generated more than 1 million signatures to place on November ballots an initiative amending the state's constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Kai Stinchcombe, a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, and a very good friend of mine, created the popular Facebook group Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs.  In his thoughtful analysis, Kai identifies 17 reasons gay marriage should remain illegal:

Obama17. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
16. Gay culture is a new fad created by the liberal media to undermine long-standing traditions. We know this is true because gay sex did not exist in ancient Greece and Rome.

15. There are plenty of straight families looking to adopt, and every unwanted child already has a loving family. This is why foster care does not exist.

14. Conservatives know best how to create strong families. That is why it is not true that Texas and Mississippi have the highest teen birthrates, and Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire have the lowest. This is a myth spread by the liberal media.

13. Marriage is a religious institution, defined by churches. This is why atheists do not marry. Christians also never get a divorce.

12. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why our society has no single parents.

11. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

10. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

9. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

8. Gay marriage should be decided by the people and their elected representatives, not the courts. The framers checked the courts, which represent mainstream public opinion, with legislatures created to protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Interference by courts in this matter is inappropriate, just as it has been every time the courts have tried to hold back legislatures pushing for civil rights.

7. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because "separate but equal" institutions are a good way to satisfy the demands of uppity minority groups.

5. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

4. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

3. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

2. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.



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Anonymous on :

It's all Europe's fault. European "vultures" are buying up lots of California land at "Armageddon" prices. Source: [url=]German Joys[/url] This is an evil plot to spread European gay values... To the humor-impaired: This was sarcasm.

David on :

The California supreme court's opinion was a [url=]victory for equality and justice[/url]. Kudos to Governor Schwarzenegger for coming out against a constitutional amendment to reverse the decision.

Charlotte on :

Bravo California!! Today is the 4th year anniversary of gay marriage in Massachusetts & nothing has changed except gay & heterosexual couples have equal rights. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. If people have a problem with that check out our short. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

Elisabetta on :

Ah yes, eruptions from the choir when the judicial bench disregards a plebisite that passed 62/38%, even when California already has a domestic partnership law that guarantees every right that the state of marriage in Cali affords. However, somehow the notion of dignity contained (somewhere?) within the Cali Con's due process and privacy clause supercedes the will of the majority, exercised through legitimate legislative processes. Judicial fiat creates societal turmoil and mocking the rubes that disagree with your opinion is a poor substitute for persuasion. Look at abortion and how the Burger court handled it. They disregard the obvious trend in State law allowing abortions and relying upon the jurisprudential invention of the zone of privacy handed down an awful opinion that has caused societal unrest and friction for more than a quarter of a century. Society will evolve on its own time and anyone who thinks that then trend is not towards more inclusion for homosexuals is delusionsal. Gay marriage will come in most States, but opinions like this one and the ruling of the Mass Sup Ct in 2003 impede their momentum.

David on :

I suppose you were also appalled at Virginia vs. Loving and Brown vs. Board of Ed. Both decisions went against popular sentiment at the time. It should be noted that the California supreme court is comprised primarily of Republican justices. They were simply applying the law under the state's constitution. “An individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold rights,” wrote Chief Justice Ronald George, first appointed to the bench by Gov. Ronald Reagan. "Judicial fiat creates societal turmoil" After the initial turmoil when gay marriage was legalized it has become completely accepted and successful. No turmoil whatsoever.

Pat Patterson on :

Actually David is quite wrong about public reaction to the two cases he cited, incorrectly as usual. In Virginia v. Loving only a few states still had anti-miscegenation laws on the books and Virginia was one of the few that actually enforced this law, under a Democratic run governor and legislature I might add, and in this particular case both the NCC, the Catholic Bishop's Conference and the Presbetyrian Council had supplied briefs in support of Mrs. Loving. But its always easier to call your opponents racists and fools then being aware of or thinking the actual circumstances. In Brown v. Board of Education only a few states, mostly in the old Confederacy, still had de jure segregation though many still had it de facto. Again support for Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP and the Lawyer's Guild was national in nature and showed that many were extremely sympathetic to overturning Plessy v. Ferguson as a racist relic of the ante bellum South. Of course generally the result of getting rid of neighborhood school zones has become one of those unintended consequences that most are extremely uncomfortable in talking about. Getting this into court was simply a tactic to bypass the will of the people. It's especially egregious in that on at least five other occassions this and previous definitions of marriage had passed muster. So like Hawaii, and unlike Massachusetts, California has already gathered enough signatures to place an amendment before the public in the next election creating a situation that will again be nasty and idiotic in that the civil union laws in California offered exactly the same status to gay couples that the new decision will have. Except that now gays are also considered a protected class akin to a racial minority. Le bon temps roulet!

Nanne on :

This may surprise some of you, but in the 'liberal' Netherlands, courts are actually not allowed to go against legislation on the basis of the constitution (they can however strike laws down on the basis of 'directly binding' international or European law). The US has accorded greater power to the courts in its constitution. This has some downsides for conservatives, but also some upsides. If you had the Dutch system you could not have the courts strike down, say, environmental legislation that does not have a basis in the interstate commerce clause.

Pat Patterson on :

Nanne-That brings up another question, only slightly O/T, do the Dutch allow jury nullification in civil or criminal cases?

Nanne on :

The Netherlands does not have juries to begin with. If judges really do not want to apply a certain criminal law, they can declare suspects 'devoid of all guilt', or give them a symbolic penalty.

Don S on :

I've heard recently that the Nederlands aren't actually very liberal any more. The chap who sits next to me at work lived there until very recently. True?

David on :

Pat, I feel your pain. After all, in the last election the Decider promised his Republican base that he would add a hate amendment to the US Constitution which would ban same-sex marriages forever. He failed at this (as at everything) and now tolerance is breaking out everywhere.... You must be bitterly disappointed.

Pat Patterson on :

And as usual instead of responding to the actual facts you simply resort to passive/aggressive ad hominem attacks. Instead of response better left to five-year olds simply either contradict my argument or perhaps admit that as usual you made another wildly overblown statement that didn't even pass the laugh test. As to a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages I thought it was a stupid idea that missed the whole point of letting the people of each individual state pass or turn down. Plus there must be an awful lot of tolerance breaking out since not one sex marriage bill has been passed through intiative or referendum. The only state that did until a bare majority of the Supreme Court in California was Massachusetts which refused and resorted to legal and extralegal manuevers to keep the measure from those horrible people voting on it. So this ground swell of tolerance is based on a legislature that refused to allow a vote and a court that simply ignored the vote. In other words be tolerant or else!

Joe Noory on :

So where is it exactly that do download your melodramatic talking points?

John in Michigan, USA on :

There you go again with the hate, David. I have yet to hear you denounce hate when it comes from your side. I challenged you to do so many times, including [url=]this post from almost two months ago[/url], I have yet to hear you condemn the Rev Wright or his hateful comments. While you're at it, please document where in the Marriage amendments you find the hateful language? For the record, I am fully [i]in favor[/i] of the right to gay marriage and even plural marriage (group marriage), as long as it is strictly limited to consenting adults. However I am also a realist and recognize that the country simply isn't ready for this. We may never be ready for plural marriage. On gay marriage, there has been a lot of progress towards civil unions, and until recently I would have thought we'd get to full marriage rights in the next 30 years or so, but now I am not so sure. The fact that some courts have overturned well-established legal precedent and arrogantly ignored the clear will of the majority, reeks of Roe v. Wade, and has made even the compromise position, civil unions, much less likely. A perfect example of this backlash happened recently in Michigan. Unfortunately, we recently (2004 if I recall), amended our state constitution to explicitly limit marriage to one man and one woman; the same amendment also banned civil unions, but in my experience, [i]most people who voted for it didn't realize that[/i]. Prior to that, we didn't have civil unions, but there was some movement in that direction. Now thanks to the backlash, even civil unions will be much harder to achieve. For the record, I'm also pro-choice, although I think late-term abortions ought to be severely limited, based on the precautionary principle. However, I fear these unilateral court interventions re gay marriage will create the same backlash as did Roe v. Wade.

Pat Patterson on :

I forgot to mention that the quote should read, "...Tomorrow earthquakes and wildfires." We're already getting an outbreak, literally hundreds of the critters, of pine beetles because of the late rains. Unlike Lot's wife I will not be looking over my shoulder any time soon.

Joe Noory on :

That's okay - It's California we're talking about. We all know that when Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody's going to jump for joy.

Don S on :

Why post this useless flame-baiting topic, Kyle? BTW, the blogger you quoted has his goegraphy a bit wrong. By historical precedent God's preferred methods of punishing Californicans are earthquake, wildfires, and drought, with perhaps the odd tornado or cyclone thrown in for variety.

Pat Patterson on :

Drought, wild fires, earthquakes and bugs are bad enough. But we, in California, are on the wrong coast for tornadoes, not close enough to Oklahoma for cyclones and too far north of the Equator for hurricanes. Though we do have a lot of former Okies and lots of trailer parks but still know cyclones.

Don S on :

Pardon-moi, Pat. I meant typhoons instead of cyclones, under the theory that Pacific hurricanes are called typhoons. But perhaps you are on the wrong end of the Pacific for those? Never mind. How about tsunamis - do you get those? ;)

Richelle on :

Your 17 reasons why gay marriage should stay illegal is brilliant. Unfortunately I don't think logic plays well with those who believe "God" is on their side. I do think the timing of this ruling along with the ballot initiative takes California from being a sure thing for the Democrats to a possible battle ground state. While our coastal areas will probably not be phased by current happenings, our inland areas will definitely flinch and need some convincing to overcome their homophobia.

Pat Patterson on :

In 2000 Proposition 22, banning gay marriage but creating civil unions, was passed by 61.4% of the voters in California. Only six counties voted against the measure and only four of those are on the coast along with eleven other coastal counties that voted for the measure. So maybe the caring cadre will need to concentrate on the homophobia in their own neighborhoods before sneering at their fellow Californians. The last time the California Supreme Court overruled a public ballot was in the 70's and 80's when it refused to implement new death penalty laws. Subsequently the Chief Justice, Rose Bird, had the dubious honor of being the first and only judge of her stature ever recalled in California in 1986 when she came up for confirmation. I don't really think that is a possibility but the chances of passing and amendment like Hawaii did, overruling its State Supreme Court, is highly likely. Don S.-Most of California is too far north to get typhoons which are mainly within 15 degress of the Equator but trunamis do occur in the the far northern counties but mainly in Oregon and Washington. Like I and some others said; drought, earthquakes, wild fires and bugs.

Joe Noory on :

What does this have to do with trans-atlantic relations, or is the focus only on the "trans" part?

Zyme on :

I guess you could add this topic to the general transtlantic discussion about western values? :)

jsm on :

Everyone who is opposed to gay marriage is overlooking one thing that would put the real pressure on the Courts to stop calling it equal rights, and look at it for what it is, special rights. I am angry that same sex procreation is available in every state in the Union and in some other countries, and yet, no one knows or cares. Gays argue that marriage isn't all about procreation, which is true, but to say that its not part of marriage, a very important part at that, is just simply untrue. I don't like the idea of sperm and sperm (the new gamete technology) or the other forms, surrogacy and sperm donor, as you deny that child his biological rights from the outset, and unlike a woman who gives her child up for adoption, you are planning in advance to CHANGE THE CHILD'S LIFE from what IT SHOULD BE. Have you forgotten the voices of the ones who can't speak for themselves, or are you only really truly concerned with yourselves?

Pat Patterson on :

Sorry, but "same sex procreation" only conjures up images of male couples on Castro St. shopping for maternity clothes for the dad-to-be!

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