CA Constitution: Ur Doin It Wrong

1 comment November 5th, 2008at 10:29pm Posted by Eli

I gave short shrift to the awfulness that is Proposition 8 in my Thumpin’ 2: Electoral Boogaloo post.  Its success was the sourest, most discordant note in an otherwise mostly positive election.  I can understand (but still hate) the anti-gay victories in red and purple states like Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, but California?  Here we are in the middle of a huge Democratic victory – presidential landslide, pickups of 6 or 7 Senate seats and about 20 House seats – and one of the most progressive states in the country spits in the face of the gay community?  Un-frickin’-believable.

And very, very sad:

The United States took away rights yesterday.

It’s a stunning thing to acknowledge. On the same day we culminated a civil rights struggle that spans our nation’s entire history by electing the first African-American president of the United States, California voters revoked the right of some citizens of their state to marry the people they love, and nullified the bonds of some who already had.


Obama’s victory is muddied by too many other factors, some small but some quite large, to be taken as a clear sign that we have made substantial progress on the question of tolerance.

You see, Proposition 8 was a test of our tolerance, unmuddied. It was a straightforward question to a state that likes to think of itself as the most progressive in the Union — do you want to take away civil rights already granted to a minority group? The issues of unemployment, the stock market, gas prices, healthcare — all of which added nuance to the presidential election — were stripped away. It was a question of California’s tolerance in a vacuum. And California failed.

Yes, I’ve heard that the pro-8 forces were very well-funded and well-organized, and the opposition was not as strong as it should have been, but is that really an excuse?  Is funding and organization really enough to overcome people’s understanding of what’s right and fair?

So now the California Constitution is going in reverse, subtracting rights instead of adding them.  The anti-8 people are launching legal challenges based on the idea that Prop 8 removes a “fundamental right” and therefore requires a revision instead of just an amendment, which means a two-thirds majority of either the legislature or the voters.  But it should never have come to this in the first place.

Stein does offer some hope for the future, at least:

The other strong predictor of how someone voted on Proposition 8 was age. Only the 18-29 age demographic voted against it. Young people rejected the idea of limiting the right to marry 61-39. Voters 30-64 voted in favor by about 10 points, and voters over 65 reversed the youngsters’ vote, 39-61.

The fact that younger Americans support marriage equality by such vast numbers means that the writing is on the wall. Proposition 8 and what it represents will not stand the test of time.

Even if the legal challenges fail, a future proposition will eventually reverse this one.  But that doesn’t un-dissolve all the marriages that are going to be wiped out, and doesn’t do much for the gay couples who were hoping to get married in the near future.

The bottom line is that on the same day America said it was okay with a black man in the White House, it said it was not okay with a gay couple in a wedding chapel.

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Teh Gay

1 Comment

  • 1. Cujo359  |  November 5th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Is funding and organization really enough to overcome people’s understanding of what’s right and fair?

    When that organization and funding are accompanied by a willingness to lie and fear-monger, yes, it is really enough.

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