No on Prop 8

As the election looms, there’s a proposition on the California ballot that’s getting a lot of attention.  Prop 8 is a proposed amendment to the California constitution that strictly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  Clearly, there’s a lot of hysteria about this proposition but I think I can break down my “no on prop 8”  position.

What Changes:

  • Same sex couples will be able to get legal marriage status in California
  • Solemnizing authorities who wish to ordain same sex marriages will be allowed to do so
  • Providing a legal framework for marriage encourages monogamous long term relationships, which (aside from the public health concerns) is good in terms of providing financially stable households.
  • Gay couples win dignity by averting another “Jim Crow” separate-but-equal civil union situation
  • Less fraud with partner benefits as California companies can use a state marriage license as proof of eligibility
  • Potential economic benefits from offering a limited and in demand resources.  Gay weddings will be the new oil.

What doesn’t change

  • Gay couples will continue to be able to adopt in California, but with less uncertainty around guardianship and greater incentives to build a stable household.
  • Same sex couples will continue to have healthy, meaningful relationships and choose to live together as they wish.
  • Churches will continue to be able to define marriage as they see fit

So for me, the rational argument is that marriage as defined by the state really is a civil union, with no pretext regarding romance between the actual parties.  It really is a declaration of sharing a single household for tax and legal purposes.  The reason why we can’t call it a civil union is because ‘separate but equal’ has never worked out well in reality.  (see Jim Crow for examples)  Even today, there are completely chaste marriages between opposite sex partners because of the benefits that marriage confers.

I have yet to see a rational argument in favor of Prop 8.  I’m not going to argue with you based on faith, but if you’re going to convince me that I’m wrong, you have to present a rational, secular argument for saying “yes”.  A glib argument like “I want to be a Groom, not Partner A” just won’t cut it, nor does the straw man of ‘the intent of marriage is procreation, therefore only people who are capable of reproducing should be able to marry’.  Tell that to the 20% of 40-44 year old married couples who are childless.

Put another way- just like any proposition,  think hard about the impact on yourself and others when deciding your vote.  Even if gay marriage makes you uneasy, does its existence really impact you very much if at all?  On the flip side, people who are already in committed relationships, and their CHILDREN, will be able to enjoy the benefits and incentives that married couples enjoy today.

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