Thoughts on the Proposition 8 Ruling…

Proposition 8 has been overturned as you may have heard. The justice, a conservative, ruled it unconstitutional.

I have stated before how important it is for people to read things for themselves, rather than let others tell them about it. People flippantly refer to the Constitution without ever having perused its pages, and therefore they are willing to believe what others tell them about it. These same people are flippantly condemning Judge Walker’s ruling. And, not surprisingly, they are stooping to that lowest level of debate: the personal attack.

As I wrote in my recent cover piece for The Humanist, rationality and blind belief are going head-to-head in a cataclysmic culture war. And at least in this round, rationality has carried the day.

So here is Judge Walker’s actual ruling. It is a logical, cogent, and convincing document. It exposes the bigotry and irrationality motivating the rabid anti-gay crowd who are on the wrong side of history.

The entire piece is very much worth reading. I will highlight a few points, however:

A private moral view that same sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its
constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the  Fourteenth Amendment.

Never has the state inquired into procreative capacity or intent before issuing a marriage license; indeed, a marriage license is more than a license to have procreative sexual intercourse.

Race restrictions on marital partners were once common in most states but are now seen as archaic, shameful or even bizarre. When the Supreme Court invalidated race restrictions… the definition of the right to marry did not change. Instead, the Court recognized that race restrictions, despite their historical prevalence, stood in stark contrast to the concepts of liberty and choice inherent in the right to marry. The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household.

Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as “the right to same-sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy, namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.

A lot of this chimes in with the prejudices of author Orson Scott Card, who I condemned two years ago for his astonishing diatribe that gay marriage would end the human race. But given what’s happened, I think it’s high time that we made the following part of the national conversation:

Maybe churches should start paying taxes.

The argument can be made that religious opposition to gay marriage in California has constituted a violation of their tax-exempt status. If religious organizations want to affect the social and legislative construct, they should have to pay to play. It just takes a presidential administration with the courage to make it happen.

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