Was Proposition 8 a sinister win?  Or a valid amendment?
March 05, 2009

This is the image of a social liberal in all her pregnant glory:

© 2009 Helios Media, Inc.  Please click here to see this image on Flickr.

It is also the reason my husband is not allowed to touch the cameras in this house.  He could have taken a picture that made me look like a supermodel, but THIS?!  This picture of my belly literally popping out buttons on my dress, THIS IS WHAT I DESERVE FOR CARRYING HIS UNBORN CHILD?!

Anyway, today is a momentous day for California.  It is the day that a bunch of lawyer folks get together and fight about whether or not Proposition 8 can be legally upheld.

Now, I am well aware of the fact that unless you live in my cash-strapped state, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about, so let me explain.  Last May, a court here ruled that marriage was a fundamental right and that it was unconstitutional to deny that right to the homosexual population.  In November, a ballot proposition passed to overturn that ruling and amend the California state constitution so that marriage was defined as involving a man and a woman as husband and wife.

Everybody and their mother voted in that election.  Donald and I are big believers in voting, HUGE believers in telling people who do not vote that they are not allowed to complain or criticize, and I was in line at the polls well before they opened last November.

Look, even Anastacia voted.  See?  See her sticker?

© 2009 Helios Media, Inc.  Please click here to see this image on Flickr.

Okay, I lie.  The sticker actually came from our local city council elections a couple days ago.  You know what’s amazing?  She almost always manages to look this upbeat in photographs.  THAT’S OUR LITTLE HAPPY CAT.

Back on topic, though, the question at stake is not about the merits (or demerits) of homosexual marriage.  It is not about whether Proposition 8 is “right” or “moral.”  The question at stake is whether our democracy is based on constitution, judicial interpretation, or the will of the people.  Whether Proposition 8 is legally valid.

What do you think?

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  1. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on March 05, 2009

    Good question.  I’m not sure of the answer though.  I did read recently that some people are saying it’s not legal because it didn’t get voted on by the Legislature and therefore violates the state constitution.  But that’s just one side of the argument, an argument that I really don’t know that much about.

    I do want to say, however, that you look fabulous pregnant!!

  2. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on March 05, 2009

    A good point, Tabitha.  My understanding is that some people (opponents of Proposition 8 and/or citizens who support gay marriage) believe that the original judicial ruling is a form of checks and balances on the voters.  The argument there is that people should not have the ability to deny fundamental rights, such as marriage, to a minority and that there needs to be some sort of power that can check the people so that they do not, via ballot measures, violate the national constitution.

    The other side of the argument is that the foundation of our republic rests on the idea that the will of the people guides the country – or, in this case, the state.  These people (generally supporters of Proposition 8 and/or citizens who do not support gay marriage) believe that the May court ruling was a violation of the peoples’ will and that the amendment was necessary to prevent the courts from overwhelming the popular vote again in the future.  The argument there is that the California constitution is set up to safeguard the will of the people UNLESS there is a huge structural change enacted.

    And, of course, the debate continues there to this: is Proposition 8 a huge structural change that requires more than a ballot measure to be valid?  Or is it not?

  3. By on March 05, 2009

    I’m hoping that the Cali court will rule that ban unconstitutional.  These types of laws/amendments remind me of the Jim Crow laws that we had down here in the south.  I don’t think that they were passed amendments to the state constitution but they were definitely the will of the people (at least the ones with the voting rights and their elected legislatures) but luckily our courts decided that if the will of the people contradict the federal constitution that the constitution wins.  I live in SC and it will be a LONG time before this type of debate is a reality here.  It will probably take a federal law making gay marriage legal before this could ever happen here.

    And by the way Anastasia is one cute critter- I may be a bit prejudiced as I also have a long-haired grey and orange kitty :)

  4. By Clare on March 05, 2009

    I am certainly hoping it is ruled unconstitutional.  While I respect peopls voting rights… I don’t think bigotry should be written into law—even if a large number of people voted for it. 

    Cute kitty.

  5. By Lisa on March 05, 2009

    I think that gay people have more of a right to an opinion than straight people, period.  It doesn’t really mean much to most people whether or not gay people are allowed to marry.  I think that they should have the same rights.  It’s up to parents to explain the deal to kids. I am raising mine to understand that there are differences in people but it doesn’t make them “bad”. Tolerance is important.

  6. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on March 05, 2009

    Thanks for the compliments on Anastacia’s good looks =P She’s such a lover, but the minute the camera comes out she looks grumpy lol.

  7. By on March 05, 2009

    I’m appalled that our state is considering denying civil rights to a minority group. 

    I’ve heard some suggest that *all* marriages in the state become civil unions, hetero or homo, making them all legally equal.  Then if people want the religious stamp, they can do so in a church of their choice.

    Not sure how I feel about that - it feels as if it is still skirting the issue, although from a practical standpoint, it would be nice to have a more distinct line between church and state.

    Regardless, I do.not.get the antipathy toward gay marriage.  At all.

    Sign me,
    Early-middle-aged straight Mom of three teens who has many many brilliant, ethical, kind gay and lesbian friends.  I imagine my marriage has as much of an effect on them as theirs will on mine.

  8. By violetismycolor on March 05, 2009

    I agree with Clare (above)... bigotry shouldn’t be written into the law, even if lots of people agree with it.

  9. By Nella - Self Image Consultant on March 07, 2009

    Well, I am new here, but I must say…

    I believe that marriage is an over-rated concept and institution. There is too much legislation in regard to a decision of a couple to be together, or whatever else is the reason for them to get married.

  10. By Heidi on March 09, 2009

    Prop 8 cheerleaders can suck my ballz.

    Sarah, I think when your baby guava is 30 she will look back on this time in American history and say, “Can you believe when my parents were my age gay couples couldn’t get MARRIED? That’s crazy talk!“

  11. By erin on March 09, 2009

    i’m kind of stuck on this one.  as you mentioned, the foundation of our republic is based on the will of the people and who is one group, however right or wrong, to deny the will of the majority.  on the other hand, the framers of the us constitution - theoretically the basis of our state constitution but don’t even get me STARTED on marijuana laws - imposed strict checks and balances to proctect the rights and freedoms of the minority.  so, which is correct, or right, or moral?  protecting the “rights” (for the sake of argument, we’ll keep it in quotes) of the minority against the will of the majority?  or denying those “rights” because the majority dictates it?

    tangent but somewhat related: i read an interesting concept in a novel once about a family of missionaries in africa.  they watched their village go for days trying to elect a new chief, voting over and over and over again, even when 75% of the people agreed on one person.  when the pastor character asked the guy presiding over the election why they kept going when the one candidate obviously had the majority vote, he answered that with merely a simple majority (or even more), still half the people would be dissatisfied because they did not agree to be led by the person elected.  so they kept debating and arguing and voting until they had a (mostly?) unanimous decision, because everyone had to agree to abide by their leader.  i keep thinking of that re: prop 8 and how it barely passed, and now (in theory) virtually half the people in the state are bound by it.





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