Could gay marriage end in California?

PHOTO: Same sex couple getting married

Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court struck down a law preventing same-sex marriages because it violated the state constitution. You can count me among those people who thought the California Supreme Court’s ruling would usher in a wave of similar court rulings or legislation across the country. California is, after all, the most populous state in the Union.

However, the enemies of equal rights for homosexuals are freakin’ rich. They managed to get an initiative on the ballot in California that would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry by amending the California Constitution. The initiative is known as Proposition 8 or simply Prop 8.

A poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California showed 44% of Californians in favor and 52% opposed to Prop 8. That’s a significant shift from earlier in the year when Prop 8 looked extremely unlikely to pass. Some polls even show the ban passing.

Why the shift has occurred is, of course, a murky question to answer, but one big factor appears to be massive support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is what the Mormon church said back in June:

The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

And they are backing up that statement of intent with massive financial support. Of the $22.88 million in contributions supporting the same-sex marriage ban, $17.67 million has been donated by Mormon families.

Now, to be absolutely clear, I have nothing against Mormons, but they should take a hard look at what their church is doing in their name, and put a stop to it.

If you’d like to help preserve same-sex marriage rights in California, you can DONATE HERE.

On a related local note, this is why you need to vote for Kay Hagan instead of the odious Elizabeth Dole in their Senate contest.

Flickr photo by SFBart

9 Comments

  1. Ian

    I don’t feel like a church with a relatively recent history of polygamy has any business deciding marriage rights for everyone else in California. If gay marriage is allowed, it doesn’t mean the Mormon church has to do the marrying. The joke is on them. Gay marriage will pass eventually, the question is when. So their bigotry and all the money they spent on it will go to waste.

  2. Chris

    Yes, but better to defeat the forces of intolerance now than hope it happens down the road.

  3. Daimao

    It’s not a waste of money to them if they can keep gay marriage from passing for as long as they are able.

    I think it would be a mistake to amend the state constitution, but I’m not sure that allowing gay marriage is the right way to go about fighting bigotry. It seems like the real issues are being oversimplified and glossed over. It would be more beneficial in my opinion if the country would have more discussions on homosexuality itself, its history, and what it really means to be gay, instead of having the Supreme Court throw out rulings that people aren’t ready for. If people aren’t educated and can’t come to understand homosexuality for themselves, then same-sex marriage will create a lot more resentment and confusion than there would have to be I think.

  4. Ian

    I think Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms made the similar argument that the nation wasn’t ready for integration. I don’t think its a question of readiness. Certainly gays are ready for their equal rights and have been for centuries.

  5. Chris

    If people aren’t educated and can’t come to understand homosexuality for themselves, then same-sex marriage will create a lot more resentment and confusion than there would have to be I think.

    To be blunt, I don’t think people need to be educated. They just need to get out of other people’s business.

  6. Daimao

    I think people on the religious right might argue that it is very much their business what direction society is moving towards. Many such as those Mormons feel they have a moral responsibility to protect their values. Also I don’t think allowing ignorance to perpetuate is any way to move forward. It sounds kind of cold and separatist, like a “as long as we’re happy, screw everyone else” kind of mentality.

    As far as readiness goes, certainly, by whatever means necessary gays should get their rights. I just think that some people are too quick to jump on the support bandwagon without understanding the opposition, and can overlook the root of the problem. You can see how many voted for Prop 22 back in 2000, and now this one emerges right after the Court’s ruling last spring. All I’m saying is don’t expect everything to fall quietly into place if this thing doesn’t pass.

  7. Ian

    I’m not quite sure what you are saying in the first paragraph, but it sounds like you are agreeing with us. (?) I am less worried about legislating from the bench than I am from the pulpit. I don’t think people expect everything to be quiet. It wasn’t that way during the Civil Rights movement. I do think that this will happen with less violence and unrest than the end of segregation did. While people did experience a major cultural change during integration, the majority of people won’t notice any changes from gay marriage.

    My biggest question about what you are saying is about this whole “root of the problem” thing. What do you mean by that? I would guess the root of the problem is based in religion, and well, you just can’t change that. Some people will forever think that homosexuality is sin, and maybe it is. I don’t know. I believe the debate shouldn’t focus at all on whether its sin or not (Let God decide and sort all that out in the afterlife, if you believe in Him/Her/It/Them/etc). It shouldn’t focus on whether religion should influence law (the answer should be an obvious “No”). The debate should be whether or not granting homosexuals civil unions is equal to marriage (Its not).

  8. Daimao

    What I was saying first was how I disagree with Chris about staying out of people’s business, because I think same-sex marriage does affect the opponents on some level, and how I think it sounds harsh to say that people don’t need to be educated and should just co-exist by keeping their opinions to themselves. That sounds like a stagnant or potentially regressive society to me.

    Ian, I don’t think the root of the problem is solely based in religion, but has more to do with people being unexposed and ignorant about homosexuality which leads to fear and bigotry. I think the religious aspect is more than often a front for those real prejudices.

    As for not being able to change anyone’s beliefs, well, the scripture may be clear, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t change how they interpret those words. I think that if people do educate themselves, then they can come to challenge their beliefs, and possibly even the authority of their religion itself. I realize it may not be so simple when dealing with religion, but I think it’s possible.

  9. Ian

    Yeah, but its not like religion has been reinterpreted when it comes to say abortion. Somethings will never go away like that. I mean, some people still think the earth is only a few thousand years old. Some think Jesus rode dinosaurs. I’m not equating all these things, just throwing out examples. That is their right and I think its pretty futile to try to convince them otherwise, just like its futile for them to try and convince me. I’m more in line with Chris with thinking that it shouldn’t matter what these people think about gay marriage. I agree with you as far as ignorance being a major problem, but I don’t feel like we need to wait for everyone to be cool with it. You would need to define what percentage of the population needed to be OK with it, and then wait around for that day to come. That seems too arbitrary to me, and it disregards the people who want gay marriage now. People who want to get married now but cannot. If you defined that percentage as a simple majority, well that seems terribly wrong. Homosexuals are a minority and their lives shouldn’t be dictated by a majority who is different than them cause they are uncomfortable. That’s exactly what was happening pre-Civil Rights movement (and still happens to some extent).