Monday, September 05, 2005

Gaga in CA

Ballot-initiative-crazy California seems to be at the saturation point on anti-gay versions. The dueling constitutional amendments in the works raise similar issues to those here.

Opponents to same-sex marriage and civil union on both shores share a strong anti-homosexual sentiment. They tend to claim that they are somehow protecting marriage by limiting it in any form to a heterosexual couple. Their commonality breaks down in practice.

The Sacrament Bee (requires free registration) has a nice analysis of the left-coast issues by Daniel Weintraub. You can also see the texts of the initiatives:
  • SA2005RF0077, Amdt. #2-NS (PDF 82kb/ 2 pages). Cleared for petition circulation. Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
  • SA2005RF0082 (PDF 151kb/ 5 pages) Cleared for petition circulation. Marriage. Invalidation of Domestic Partnerships. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
  • SA2005RF0083 (PDF 146kb/ 5 pages) Cleared for petition circulation. Marriage. Exclusive Legal Status for Married Spouses. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
The emotional pitch of the anti folk has been increasingly high since the legislature okayed domestic partnerships. This was despite 2000's Proposition 22, which put one-man/one-woman marriage wording in the Family Code. The let's-punish-the-queers people just cannot believe that they lost control on that one.

One side has simple DoMA wording (Only a man and a woman in a lawful marriage shall have the legal status of married spouses in California.) in initiative 0083. In contrast the plug nasties of VoteYesMarriage, headed by Randy Thomasson claim that is not specific enough to prevent the evils of homosexuals having legalized loving relationships.

As the Bee column quotes him:

"It's fatally flawed," Thomasson told me. "I wish that weren't the case, but it is. The California courts have made it crystal clear that to protect marriage rights, you have to say you're protecting marriage rights in your text."

The measure Thomasson is backing has two provisions. One restates most of the language of Proposition 22, this time inserting it into the constitution to make it immune from any challenge in state court.

The second provision is longer and more detailed. It states: "Neither the Legislature nor any court, government institution, government agency, initiative statute, local government or government official shall abolish the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman, or bestow statutory rights or incidents of marriage on unmarried persons, or require private entities to offer or provide rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried persons. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding, from within this state or another jurisdiction, that violates this section is void and unenforceable."

Whether seeing the pettiness and punitive nature of the latter initiative alerts folk to what is actually going on remains to be seen. Any of these proposals would need roughly 600,000 signatures by mid-December to get on the ballot.

Regardless, these increase the stakes dramatically and suck in the neutral folk who prize personal freedoms, or who believe in a literal interpretation of the KJV of the Bible, or who think government should stay out of personal relationships, or who fear or are confused by homosexuals, or who believe in civil rights for all Americans.

It is likely to get nasty over the fall on both coasts.

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