Saturday, October 04, 2008

Referendum on Marriage

Some months ago the court decided that California could not legally differentiate between heterosexual and same sex couples as to marriage and next month we will go to the polls to decide whether we want to uphold that decision or, as a people, reject it. That is a pretty important decision. It is going to say quite a lot about who we are, about what kind of society we comprise. Happily, poll numbers show that the decision is likely to be that we will uphold the court's decision.

Same sex couples have been marrying for several months, and there has been no visible ill effect. Our divorce rate is so far unchanged, and heterosexual marriage rates are essentially unchanged as well, so any kind of "defense of marriage" nonsense seems not to be needed in reality.

There is a lot of advertising, mostly against the support, including many ugly lies. Fortunately, and speaking well for the people of this state, it does not seem to be working and may even be backfiring.

There is much to be said in favor of equality in marriage laws, and Jonathan Rauch says it much better than I can. He has been writing on the subject for many years, and has studied it in depth.
Even a moment's reflection shows the fatuousness of "Let them eat contracts." No private transaction excuses you from testifying in court against your partner, or entitles you to Social Security survivor benefits, or authorizes joint tax filing, or secures U.S. residency for your partner if he or she is a foreigner. I could go on and on.

Unfortunately, both of the current presidential candidates are of the "Let them eat contracts" school, so the best we can hope for is action at the state level for now. But, for Heaven's sake, let's at least get it right at whatever level we can.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Marriage is normally a contract between a man and a woman for the sack of their offspring. If you attempt to legalize a partnership between same sex couples it implies either buggery or similar unhealthy sexual practices. That does not mean that such practices take place but it sends a message to everyone, especially children, that perverse sexual activity is normal, desirable and OK. Now if you wish to go the legal route and allow the same benefits offered to married couples to others then surely another form of commonlaw contract can be devised without the "marriage" handle attached.