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Thoughts on Prop 8

First of all, hello :sheep: This is my first blog entry so I thought I'd have a bit of an introduction. I'm not sure how often I'll post entries, but hopefully each time I do it'll be interesting.

No on Prop 8 Ads

I was born and raised in Texas, but I moved here to California about a year and a half ago. Quite an interesting change, to say the least. Overall I like the environment, weather, etc, but the politics I could do without. One example of such is "No on Prop 8" ads that have been nonstop lately. I'd like to begin my discussion of Prop 8 by discussing my thoughts on these "No on Prop 8" commercials.

The main thing that irks me about these ads is the reasons they give for voting no. They say things like "Prop 8 is about eliminating fundamental rights" or "nobody should be discriminated against" or "marriage should be for everyone". Each of these is simply wrong and it's important I flesh out why I feel that way:

Marriage is not a fundamental right. No, that's not quite accurate: Marriage as recognized by the government is not a fundamental right. Certainly people have the right to marry whomever or whatever they want and call it marriage, but they don't necessarily have the right to have the marriage recognized by the state.

The truth is, the government has the ability to restrict the marriages it recognizes. This would not change even if gay marriage were recognized, so speaking of marriage as being for "everyone" is a distortion. Recoginizing gay marriage is only for the benefit of one portion of the population, not everyone. And, any laws that aim to specifically recognize gay marriage are discriminating against other potential forms of marriage that are also currently not recognized as valid by the state.

So, the commercials are wrong on those points. What Prop 8 is about is cementing the definition of marriage. And why should it not be cemented? A slippery slope may or may not happen, who knows, but changing the definition ensures that it at least could happen in the future.

Defining Marriage

So cementing the definition, isn't it important to determine why a particular definition should be the law of the land? This is where I feel Prop 8 truly shines, because I feel it has a good reason behind it that remains more consistent than arguments for allowing gay marriage.

The reason for defining marriage as between a man and a woman is simple: a man and woman is the natural method for procreation. A child can be with their natural parents.

This is a rather concrete definition and works well. It explains why it's a man and woman, it explains why it's two people, it explains why people can't marry non-humans and whatever other possibilities, etc.

On the other hand, arguments for a definition that include gay marriage aren't so consistent. Arguments for gay marriage tend to fall within three categories:
-Marriage is about love
-Marriage is about family
-Marriage is for financial reasons

The general problem with all of these is they don't necessarily have to solely apply to two people. Love, for instance, is a rather relative term. One person may define love differently than another. Family can be nothing more than one person, or it may be extended to more than "parents". And everyone needs financial aid, even single parents.

I find it funny when people argue for gay marriage and stress that it's between two people, but never are able to give a reason why it must be two people, and why their definitions protect against more outrageous redefinitions of marriage. In short, redefining marriage for a reason beyond natural procreation leaves the definition of marriage in a less than concrete state.

So I'm sure some people will bring up a point by now (actually, I'm sure opponents of Prop 8 will bring up points I didn't even imagine): not every straight couple procreates. That is, some couples physically can't have children, or some couples choose not to have children.

My response to that is this. An underlining reason for a law doesn't have to apply to everyone. For an example of what I mean I'll point to drunk driving. Over a certain blood alcohol level you're considered to be driving drunk. The reason for the law is that most people drive dangerously when drunk, but concievably there exists people who could indeed drive safely even over the legal limit. The law applies to everyone because the reasoning for the law is sound, even if the law shouldn't technically apply to everyone. The reasoning for marriage as a man and a woman is sound, it's consistent, and it's the most concrete you can get even if it technically doesn't apply to every couple. (Perhaps I could find a better example than drunk driving, but it serves my purpose well enough I think)

Conclusion

I could talk about this from an angle of tradition and religion, but I feel 70% confident in the route this post took instead. Tradition and religion are hard things to argue, particularly when discussing issues of the state.

This is probably a controversial first post, and I'm sorry it might set such a controvertial tone for the blog in general. My thoughts aren't always so controversial, so even if you disagree with this post, check back when I post again :shrug:
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9 Comments On This Entry

I voted yes on 8. I believe gay couples have a right to be joined in a legal union. I believe they can choose whoever they like to join with. The number of men or women in this union don't have to be two. But it is NOT marriage unless it is one man and one woman. That's what I think.
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I am voting Yes on Prop 8 mainly because I fear what COULD happen if the definition of marriage is changed. Not only could it be broadened even further in the future, there COULD be certain legal issues that may lead the government to intrude into the private sector, especially in a state like CA. Private institutions may be forced to "equally" allow or preside over marriage ceremonies to same sex couples.

I predict we will see a challenge of the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Once several states allow same sex marriage and others states don't recognize said marriages, this non recognition will be challenged under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution.
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They say things like "Prop 8 is about eliminating fundamental rights" or "nobody should be discriminated against" or "marriage should be for everyone".

I would like to get madg's opinion on this part.
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I could talk about this from an angle of tradition and religion, but I feel 70% confident in the route this post took instead. Tradition and religion are hard things to argue, particularly when discussing issues of the state.


I've taken the view that tradition is the cumulative lesson of past failure and success. It's kind of like learning things in school. Back in school we learned that the sum of angles in a triangle is equal to 180 degrees. We learn the hypothesis, and then learned the proof. These days, I can tell you the lesson, but I can't give you the proof. I (and probably everybody else except the mathematicians) have forgotten the proof to that. Or the Pythagorian theorem. We all know that one, but how many people these days can prove it.

In the same way, I think tradition is like those math lessons. At one point, we saw the effects of failure or the effects of success. We kept on doing what was good and avoiding what was bad. In time, it became tradition, but the original experiment was forgotten. For that reason, I think people should think long and hard before deciding to toy with tradition. ESPECIALLY with long set traditions like marriage.
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I just watched a no on 8 commercial that was pathetic. They began with showing the history of discrimination in our country from separate lunch lines to internment camps. Then went on to imply that Prop 8 is equivalent to both. This is by far the worst case of propaganda and lies that I have seen on any side of this issue.
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Mollywalk, on Oct 31 2008, 05:49 PM, said:

I voted yes on 8. I believe gay couples have a right to be joined in a legal union. I believe they can choose whoever they like to join with. The number of men or women in this union don't have to be two. But it is NOT marriage unless it is one man and one woman. That's what I think.


Woohoo! My first reply on my first blog post!

I'm fine with defining legal unions as well, just not with redefining marriage.
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DodgerKing, on Oct 31 2008, 06:36 PM, said:

I am voting Yes on Prop 8 mainly because I fear what COULD happen if the definition of marriage is changed. Not only could it be broadened even further in the future, there COULD be certain legal issues that may lead the government to intrude into the private sector, especially in a state like CA. Private institutions may be forced to "equally" allow or preside over marriage ceremonies to same sex couples.

I predict we will see a challenge of the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Once several states allow same sex marriage and others states don't recognize said marriages, this non recognition will be challenged under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution.


I agree :tongue2:
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moocow, on Oct 31 2008, 07:29 PM, said:

I've taken the view that tradition is the cumulative lesson of past failure and success. It's kind of like learning things in school. Back in school we learned that the sum of angles in a triangle is equal to 180 degrees. We learn the hypothesis, and then learned the proof. These days, I can tell you the lesson, but I can't give you the proof. I (and probably everybody else except the mathematicians) have forgotten the proof to that. Or the Pythagorian theorem. We all know that one, but how many people these days can prove it.

In the same way, I think tradition is like those math lessons. At one point, we saw the effects of failure or the effects of success. We kept on doing what was good and avoiding what was bad. In time, it became tradition, but the original experiment was forgotten. For that reason, I think people should think long and hard before deciding to toy with tradition. ESPECIALLY with long set traditions like marriage.


That's a good argument, I wish I'd thought of it. Thank you for posting :tongue2:
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DodgerKing, on Oct 31 2008, 08:17 PM, said:

I just watched a no on 8 commercial that was pathetic. They began with showing the history of discrimination in our country from separate lunch lines to internment camps. Then went on to imply that Prop 8 is equivalent to both. This is by far the worst case of propaganda and lies that I have seen on any side of this issue.


I'm glad I haven't seen that one, I'd probably be bald now from having pulled all my hair out.
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