Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are somethings too important to put to a vote?

The California Supreme Court today issued a decision that upheld Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.

While some say that this isn't all bad news, that at least the 18,000 same-sex couples that had gotten married before the November vote get to remain "married", I disagree.

This is a set back that presents a clear reason why issues that address individual's civil rights should not be put to a general vote - tyranny of the majority.

Could you imagine what would have happened in the mid 1960's if the right to vote for blacks and school desegregation were put to a vote? Both the US and our constitution are based on the premise that citizens are to be treated equally under the law. Now, unless your actions or being threatens the security of those around you, you are owed equal treatment when it comes to matters of basic human rights i.e. the right love someone of your choice.

I won't go into the reasons why same-sex marriage deserve equal treatment as that debate hasn't subsided and won't for some time. But I do have to wonder given the wave of states that have ratified same-sex marriage since the Prop.8 vote in November, is there a sea change in America. And would that change happen more quickly if we weren't using the word "marriage"?

Because, it seems to me that what all the religious wing nuts are harping about: "Don't redefine marriage, marriage is a sacred institution etc.". I won't go on about the hypocrisy of that argument. I will say, however, as long as a couple can be joined in a partnership that grants them the same rights and obligations as anyone else you can call it tapioca if you like.

There is no civil reason to prohibit same-sex marriage, being homosexual is not a criminal offense (In Canada, since 1969.) There is no logical reason to withhold very basic rights to millions of people but, unfortunately, logic has no place in the minds of religious fundamentalists who have no problem tyrannizing the rest of us with their particular take on the universe. Not having to pay taxes, churches such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can amass quite a tidy sum to mount an aggressive crusade against their heathen foes.

Democracy can only survive when there is true separation between church and state. In the meantime, the battle continues.

And now for a little political levity, a mini-musical:

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