Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Is Prop 8 Important?

Let's have the full Proposition 8 amendment first:

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the
provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.
This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by
adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are
printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.
SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage
Protection Act.”
SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution,
to read:
SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized
in California.

I'm planning on voting No on Prop 8. I'm sure I'll lose quite a few potential readers right there. If I haven't lost you yet though, follow along with me through the next sentence. The California Constitution, regarding marriage, is severely broken.

Our founding fathers (of the U.S. Constitution) were very much against mixing religion and government. They'd seen the damage it could do. But even though many of them were atheists or agnostics themselves, religion was very much an intertwined part of their world - and ours.

Whether you believe in God, or the 'sanctity of marriage', or that fags will go to hell is not the point here. Whether you believe you should be able to have a thousand man orgy in a Catholic Church is not the point.

The point is that God is God, and government is government. If we truly believe in liberty in this country, then we can't have a theocracy. If we can't have a theocracy, then God and government can't mix. They shouldn't mix. They don't go well together. Each diminishes the other. God is private, government is public. God is internal, government, external. There is no good way to govern a free thinking country through a basis of religion. It just can't work.

Why? Well, 'religion' alone can't describe a government. It has to be a specific religion. Christianity perhaps? That wouldn't really work. Ask any Irishman about Protestants vs. Catholics and you see the inherent flaws there. But it goes much deeper than that. Two people sitting in the same church for years will often disagree about God. If that's the case, how can there be a consensus about how to base laws on His will?

Returning to my point, marriage is something sanctioned and authorized by churches and religions. Government has no business intruding on the affairs of any church. Civil unions are a governmental institution. The church has no business with that any more than it does parking meters.

Even civil unions are a form of discrimination, however. By almost any standard, two people, in the eyes of the government, are better than one or three. Why two? What's so special about the number two? The only reason the government clings to that is our history involving Christianity. But that history also includes Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, Muslims, and a whole host of other religions and beliefs. They should all be represented in a country that so proudly espouses the freedoms that we do. But I digress.

Why is Prop 8 important? I've already pointed out various hypocrisies in our current system. Even if Prop 8 fails, this state and this country have a long way to go to fully realizing the concepts that John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Stuart Mills and Thomas Paine gave birth to.

But a flawed system is no reason to pass a flawed bill. Anything that takes away an individuals right to make decisions is to be viewed with harsh skepticism to say the least. This bill doesn't take anything away from anyone. It gives a small (albeit flawed) bit of freedom to some though. That's something we all should support.

Again, I'm voting No on Prop 8. I welcome discussion on the issue.

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