Just to remind everyone, in 2000, California passed Proposition 22, which said that California would not recognize same-sex marriages, even out-of-state ones. In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that Prop 22 was unconstitutional, and furthermore, that marriage is a fundamental right. This gave gays the right to get married in California. Then, later in 2008, Prop 8 amended the state constitution to say that only opposite-sex marriage is valid or recognized.
I mention this to make it clear that Prop 8 took away a right. A right that courts have called fundamental.
So anyway, Prop 8 was challenged in court, and we’re finally approaching the end, with closing arguments presented yesterday. The wheels of justice certainly turn slowly, and one can only hope that they grind exceedingly finely.
So you’d think that after months of lead time, both sides would bring their A game and try to make a compelling summary for why their position is correct. You’d be wrong, as witnessed by this exchange between pro-Prop 8 attorney Charles Cooper and judge Vaugn Walker:
Walker: “Why is it that marriage has such a large public role? What is the purpose?”
Cooper: “This relationship is crucial to the public interest. Procreative sexual relations both are an enormous benefit to society and represent a very real threat to society’s interest.”
Cooper: “If children are born into the world without this stable, marital union both of the parents that brought them into the world, then a host of very important, very negative social implications arise…. The purpose of marriage is to provide society’s approval to that sexual relationship and to the actual production of children.”
Walker: “But the state doesn’t withhold marriage from people who cannot have children.”
Cooper: “It does not.”
Walker: “Are you saying the state should?”
And this one:
“What testimony in this case supports the proposition?” Walker asked.
“You don’t have to have evidence of this,” Cooper said.
This gives some insight into the world that the anti-gay folks inhabit. The usual expression is “I don’t know what you’re smoking, but where can I get some?”, except that I like my drug trips to be better than reality.
Apparently, on planet Conservo 8, homosexuality is so appealing that if it isn’t forbidden, restricted, and blocked at every turn, everyone will instantly turn gay, stop having children, and the human race will die out. Entire continents will be devastated by the Fabulous Blight.
The only reason people get married, there, is to have sex and children. Love has nothing to do with it, nor are people allowed to decide for themselves why they should get married. Couples who fall out of love after they’ve had children are not allowed to get divorced (unless they’re straight, I’m guessing), and adoption is evil (since the child doesn’t grow up with its biological parents).
But I do have to give the anti-gay side some credit. For a long time I thought the only arguments against gay marriage, or gay rights in general, were religious, and should therefore not be used as the basis for legislation under a secular government. Turns out I was wrong: as the above shows, there are also secular arguments.
The remaining question is, are there any arguments against gay marriage that are neither religious, nor pants-on-head retarded?
Update, Thu Jun 17 11:10:03 2010: The best argument I’ve seen in the reporting about the closing arguments is that Prop 8 honors “the will of the people”. This does carry a certain weight: in a democracy, we the people get a say in the laws that govern us.
Of course, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that it’s right: slavery, denying women the right to vote, Prohibition, and segregation used to reflect the will of the people as well, but I think we’ve grown up since then.