Saturday, November 01, 2008

Proposition 8 is Constitutional: Marriage is not a "Fundamental Right"

In this article, I would simply like to point out the absurdity of the most publicized argument against Proposition 8 on the November 4, 2008 ballot. The main argument against Proposition 8 is that it "would eliminate fundamental rights for a group of Californians." The purpose of this article is to point out the fact that State-sanctioned marriage is not a "right" to be found in the U.S. or the California constitutions. The definition of it is only something that we agree upon as a society, not something that we have forced upon us by a noisy minority or a handful of judges. Either the opponents of Prop. 8 are naive enough to believe they have the power to bestow "fundamental rights" upon whomever they wish or they understand that the right to marriage does not exist and they're intentionally misleading voters. All I'm asking for is a little bit of intellectual honesty in our argument here. That's all.

So where do the opponents of Prop. 8 and the California Supreme Court think they see the right to state-sanctioned marriage in our constitution? Don't tell me that we all have the right to pursue "happiness". That argument is nonsense. It makes some people "happy" to have more than one wife at a time, yet we're perfectly happy to restrict marriage from that. We the people have the right to decide on the laws under which we chose to live and thus have the right to define marriage any way we want to define it.

The original protection of marriage act, Proposition 22, was passed by the voters of the state of California in the 2000 election. The language was exactly the same as the language used for Proposition 8, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The original Prop. 22, which was struck down by the California Supreme Court by a vote of 4-3 on May 14, 2008, was deemed unconstitutional - by FOUR people! - because these FOUR people think that the equal protection clause of the California Constitution was violated (I stress the language "four people" simply because, whether these people have a title or not, they're still simply people, citizens of the State of California, just like you and me, and many of us are equally capable of interpreting the language of a document). Let's examine:

Prop. 22: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Article 1, Section 3.4 CA State Constitution: "Nothing in this subdivision supersedes or modifies any provision of this Constitution, including the guarantees that a person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denied equal protection of the laws, as provided in Section 7."

I don't know how this can be interpreted any other way - unless your personal biases cause you to see what you want to see. Prop. 22 became California law in 2000 as a result of a legitimate vote by the citizens of the state. The US and CA constitutions simply state that all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law. Prop. 22 treats every citizen of California in exactly the same manner. Every man is treated equally and every woman is treated equally under this law. None of us is allowed to marry anyone else of the same sex. Every single citizen of the state must follow the same rule. Therefore, the law clearly does not discriminate against any person. A heterosexual man cannot marry another man any more than a homosexual man can and a heterosexual woman cannot marry another woman any more than a homosexual woman can.

Now, if the law's language was, for example, "Only marriage between two people who are in love with each other is valid or recognized in California, unless the people in question are homosexual.", then you could correctly argue that the statute is discriminatory. This law would be unconstitutional because it would not allow any homosexual person to be married to anyone else - not someone of the opposite sex and same sexual orientation, nor someone of the same sex and sexual orientation, nor opposite sex and opposite sexual orientation. This law would discriminate between a heterosexual and a homosexual and treat the two differently under the law. However, under the law established by Prop. 22 and Prop. 8 (if it passes) a hetero or homosexual man will be allowed to marry a hetero or homosexual woman and vice versa. So under the proposed law, the state does not make any differentiation between hetero and homosexual people and therefore cannot be accused of being discriminatory and/or unconstitutional.

If the majority of the citizens of California wants to change the definition of marriage in this election, then so be it. But don't tell me that if I vote 'yes' on Prop. 8 that I'm taking "fundamental rights" away from anybody. Rights that never existed in the first place cannot be stripped.