We are republishing this article on May 26, 2009 because today the California State Supreme Court upheld the voters’ choice to pass Proposition 8.
“Politics: n., strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles” - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
You knew it would happen. Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment to reaffirm and protect the only serious or legal definition of marriage throughout all of history, passed in the largest state in the Union, and now all the opponents are grousing, protesting, and even rioting.
This flurry of emotions and acting out (and hatred, by the way) is a revealing demonstration of their true evaluation of the democratic process. A flurry of lawsuits and calls to now change the rules of the game in midstream remind me of players throwing a fit after losing a big game. Tear up the stadium; that will show ‘em.
Through all the adulation of Obama’s victory in California, coupled with all the hand-wringing about the loss of Prop 8, little has been said about Barack’s recorded statements of opposing same sex marriage. “I’m not in favor of gay marriage,” is one direct quote and “I don’t think it (a same-sex union) should be called marriage,” is another, even though he sidestepped the implications of those clear statements by advocating civil unions and opposing Proposition 8 on other grounds that it was divisive. Either he believes his own statements that same-sex unions are not a marriage (for religious reasons, he claimed), or he has been very disingenuous for political purposes. Obama brought many new voters into the ranks, certainly, but it is also now statistically clear that blacks voted overwhelmingly both for Obama and against Prop 8. What does one make of that? The political perception is that a strong statement for gay marriage would hurt Obama, not just in California, but across the nation where it really mattered electorally, or else how does one explain the relatively low-key support for Prop 8 before the election and the sudden vociferous reaction after the loss?
President-elect Obama won by 52.7% of the electorate and it is being touted as a landslide and an overwhelming mandate by the people. On the other hand, the media has consistently acted like the defeat of Prop 8 was a squeaker and marginal. Nevertheless, it passed by 52.3% of California voters, arguably the most “liberal” state in the union. Not only that, but voters were weighing in on an amendment to the California State Constitution that carries a finality and authority that surpasses all other legislative mandates, and it still passed. Most importantly, a constitutional amendment is supposed to transcend the willful and arbitrary interpretations of the courts. Judges are called to uphold a constitution, not rewrite it. We’ll see.
No one plays football by the rules of baseball. Likewise, no one plays democracy by the rules of an autocracy, either. Initially, such foolishness will produce frustration and chaos, but a prolonged exercise in such confusion will produce purposelessness, animosity, and oppression. We must either work to restore the foundations and principles upon which this republic stands or acquiesce to powers that neither respect nor adhere to democratic principles. We’ll see.
Principle Based Evaluation: The rights of the minority must never endanger the moral or physical survival or the core values of the majority. No society can endure if it’s courts forget this most basic truth.