California, which voted overwhelming for Barack Obama and which passed Proposition 2 (requiring better living conditions for egg producing chickens) somehow also passed Proposition 8, which removes the right of same sex couples to marry in California. To my way of thinking, this is ludicrous. I’ve stated before, and I’ll state again, that in a democracy, you don’t get to vote on civil rights; otherwise, you don’t have a democracy. And Proposition 8 is an amendment to the state Constitution; and, honestly, a Constitution is not the place to define terms like “marriage” or whatever, but rather to protect the rights of the minority from the whims of the majority. Sometimes the people are foolish, and the courts end up stepping in to make sure this aspect of the Constitution is properly implemented (which is why interracial couples can get married anywhere in the country instead of just the 38 states where it was legal when Barack Obama was born).
Unsurprisingly, there has been serious backlash against the passage of Proposition 8. And equally unsurprisingly, the backlash has been targeted largely at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the Mormons. The Mormon church — which has traditionally and historically always upheld the traditional notion of marriage as strictly between one man and one woman — poured a lot of money into the “Yes on 8” campaign. There are petitions to encourage the IRS to revoke the Mormon Church’s tax exempt status; I’m in favor of this, but what the church done is not, unfortunately, a violation of federal law, no matter how little business the church has in meddling in the affairs of California. The fact that the Prop 8 campaign utilized mostly fearmongering and blatant lies to move its message only makes me feel even more queasy. I try not to be prejudiced against any group, but I’m going to find it very hard, the next time Mormon missionaries arrive at my door, to not shout, “Get the hell away from my house!” at them.
There is also a movement to boycott Utah, the home of the Mormon church. I approve of this as well though I’m not sure how well it will go over. I’d personally also like to see a boycott of California, which was stupid enough to pass this particular bit of idiocy in the first place. This probably also won’t happen, though it would do my heart good to see, say, some major celebrities announce that they will no longer work in California because of this. This would certainly have an impact on California’s economy, and, in this case, that could only be a good thing. The state is probably already going to feel a financial impact from this anyway.
I think the most promising challenge to the passage of Proposition 8, though, is the legal challenge. In California, there are two methods for changing the state’s constitution; according to Article 18, Section 3 of the Constitution, the electors may amend the constitution by a majority vote, but there are questions as to whether this is the proper sort of procedure for such a major change to the Constitution. After all, this proposition effectively redefines the notion of equal rights in California, something which is guaranteed in the Constitution. It will be interesting to see how this goes. I’m not a lawyer, but I do think that the passage of Proposition 8 sets a very dangerous precedent.
We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully saner heads will prevail. There’s a protest rally at the State Capital right now. I dropped off Jennifer and I was going to go myself but there was literally no parking within a half mile. And since I was going to have to leave early anyway, I just headed on home. There were hundreds of people there even half an hour before the rally began; hopefully the turnout will be huge.
It will be interesting. The gay rights movement has had decades to work on creative and snarky means of civic action within the state. I can only hope that the state gets its collective head out of its collective ass and does the right thing.
(On another note, I read a very disturbing article suggesting that African Americans in California are being targeted as scapegoats for the passage of Proposition 8. While it’s true that minorities voted overwhelmingly in favor of the initiative, I think that targeting anyone as a scapegoat is misguided and counterproductive. So if you’re doing it, stop it right now, you bad person you.)