Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for May 28, 2009
I Do, I Do, You Too, but NOT You
Awww, Gawwd. Hand me that brown paper bag to put over my head. I don’t’ want anyone to know I live in California. I mean, the State is running on stupid now – partisan politicians unable to fix a busted budget, a state facing bankruptcy, a good portion of the pols having taken a blood oath to an anti-government, anti-tax zealot, they’ll slash programs designed to help the old, the sick and the poor before they’ll raise a penny to tax yachts.
Meanwhile, the populist/special interest-initiative process allowed in this state has resulted in overlapping populist/special interest-backed laws that can best be described as patches needed to fix previous populist/special interest-backed initiatives that created unintended consequences which needed more patches until the whole tangle is now crashing down like a bowl of spaghetti.
And on top of all this fiscal insanity, we now have the ridiculous spectacle of our Supreme Court hoisted on its own petard. In May 2008, the court declared that they could find no compelling (secular) state reason to deny gay couples the fundamental right to marry, a right that had been exclusively available only to straight couples. About 18,000 same-sex couples got married, including many who married in a church/synagogue of their choice, thus “sanctifying” what is, at its heart, a civil secular, state sanctioned legal contract – the old “by the power vested in my by the State of [fill in the blank], I declare you . . . whatever” once you sign the “state-issued marriage certificate.”
Well, having gay citizens enjoying the same right to marry as straight people did not sit well with the Mormon and Catholic churches, among other religious groups, who mounted a well-funded Proposition 8 campaign to change the state constitution to limit marriage to only straight people. The initiative, which passed by a slim majority, was fueled by the usual fear-mongering ads about gays molesting children, gays teaching gayness in schools and other such scoundrel-driven nonsense, and promptly ended up in front of the same Supreme Court that had already decreed that they could find no compelling state reason to deny gay marriage.
Which is why they came to be hoist on their own petard when they ruled that, Yes, the people of the state could indeed change their constitution to remove a previously granted right from a certain class of people, but they left intact the 18,000 gay marriages, thus creating a state with an Animal Farm system of justice: All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
So, under our newly amended California Constitution, the one that used to guarantee equal rights under law for all, we now have a system that guarantees that ALL straight people and SOME gay people will be granted the full rights, privileges and responsibilities of “marriage, while ALL OTHER gay people in the state need to get to the back of the bus.
You see why a paper bag for the head is in order? I mean even Iowa’s Supreme Court, fer Gawd’s sake, sent down a more coherent ruling to ensure that all its citizens would be treated equally than our court did. Ah, the shame, the shame. IOWA?
Well, this whole mess isn’t over. Both sides are now raising war-chest money and there are bound to be various legal appeals making their way to federal courts that will likely have an impact on various states’ anti-gay marriage laws. Like all other civil rights issues, I have no doubt that this issue will be resolved in the same way: Full and equal civil rights under law for the latest “out” group.
But the real shame and evil is to be found in humans beings who waste so much time and effort dividing one another, excluding one another, demonizing one another, reserving and guarding tiers of privilege for themselves while using the might of the State to enforce second-class citizenship for the designated “Other,” or whatever group du jour is in the shooting barrel. It all eventually comes to naught. The “out” group, after often bloody struggle, much ugliness and worlds of pain, is finally included and everyone looks around and wonders what the fuss was all about. The Republic doesn’t fall. The world doesn’t end. God doesn’t send plagues. Previously designated “Second-class citizens” vote and buy houses and marry and raise families and one of their sons, one of those dreaded, ostracized, demonized “Others,” grows up to become President of the United States.