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California Proposition 8

© December 2008 Anthony Lawrence

This has nothing to do with computers, Unix. Linux, or OS X. If someone else submitted it to me for publication here, I'd politely reject it because it's completely off topic.

However: this is MY soapbox and I am outraged.

I was happy on November 4th when Barack Obama was elected. The announcement of the passage of Proposition 8 in California the next day tarnished my joy considerably.

First, some background. I'm not gay. As far as I know, no one in my immediate family is gay. I have no close friends who are gay (again, as far as I know). Friends, acquaintances, clients: yes. But no one close. I have no axe to grind here. I didn't "awaken" to support gay and lesbian rights because of a child, a niece or a friend.

It simply enrages me that people think they can vote away other people's rights.

I have a very hard time holding my temper when someone dismisses this outrage with "majority rules, get over it". Seriously, when I hear that my blood boils. That stupid (yes, stupid) attitude makes me very, very angry.

I don't care whether you believe sexual preference is a matter of genetics, conditioning or choice. If you still believe that last, you are ignorant beyond hope, but I still don't care: you have no right to infringe upon someone else's life unless they are harming you and even at that we need to be very careful.

If you are truly so ill-informed and stupid that you believe otherwise, I honestly don't think that you should be voting on any issue. I wouldn't disenfranchise you by law, but I would hope that you would realize that you are too ignorant and unintelligent to have useful opinions. You should recuse yourself from voting on issues where you have no comprehension.

I'm outraged by people who discriminate against homosexuals because of personal revulsion or discomfort, but I'm beyond outrage when people use religious beliefs to justify the discrimination.

The word you should be paying attention to is "beliefs". Yes, your religion teaches these things but they are BELIEFS, not facts. Certainly at some level even the worst of you recognize that: you allow people to hold different religious beliefs or even not to have religious beliefs at all. You don't attempt to restrict the rights of those people - we're a few hundred years beyond that hypocrisy. Your BELIEFS about homosexuality should not and cannot be expressed in law. Again, that's true no matter what you believe about the causes of sexual preferences. Genetics, conditioning or idle choice - whatever you believe, no matter how ill-read you are, no matter how little you have bothered to educate yourself, no matter how stunningly ignorant you are, you should be able to understand that you don't get to mess with other folks lives.

OK, I feel a little better. As I finish this, I realize that it's entirely possible that I could lose some readers because of my rather strong opinions here. That's fine: if you are so backward as to feel that way, good riddance to you. I mean that. I don't like bigots and haters. Go, and don't let the screen door hit your butt on the way out.

I apologize to everyone else for the digression from our normal topics.

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Wed Dec 3 18:17:34 2008: 4837   BruceGarlock

Very well said, Tony. My thoughts exactly. I don't get how some people think they are above everyone else, and can decide on how someone else chooses to live their life. I just don't understand. I know someone who is gay, and she has never been able to tell her father, because of some of the comments he has made in the past about gays. It's truly sad. We can only hope that someday these people will be able to accept reality for what it is, and not what some religious or other person has told them how they should think.

- Bruce Garlock

Wed Dec 3 20:20:53 2008: 4838   anonymous

Extremely well said. I'm not gay either, but when I hear people start talking about the "sanctity of marriage" I start to see red.

Thu Dec 4 10:53:17 2008: 4839   NickBarron

Excellent article Tony. Sitting in the UK I was utterly shocked when the results came back in the way they did.

I am in the same position as you, not gay but know a few people who are. The way people seem to think they can interfere with other peoples lives makes me really enraged, especially when religion is used to hide behind.

Keep up the good work.

Thu Dec 4 21:33:39 2008: 4840   Ben

Tony, I consider myself to be a conservative (and a Christian) for the most part, though I hesitate with labels because so much baggage comes with that. My political view is the libertarian one however, this is the land of liberty and while I am perfectly able to personally disagree with a lifestyle or choice, the government should not have its hands in the endorsement of any sort of relationship, heterosexual/homosexual/polygamous or otherwise. If a couple or three want legal protection and division of assets let them seek some type of business-like partnership and keep the government out of our relationships. Now the system is skewed to give preferential treatment to one-type of relationship, monogamous heterosexual ones. Obviously this type of rhetoric isn't very popular among other Christians, but I call it as I see it. The government shouldn't be forcing ideology on anyone.

Thu Dec 4 21:40:45 2008: 4841   TonyLawrence

Ideally, governments would ignore "marriage", leaving that for churches. Governments should be concerned with contracts and, as you note, not give special treatment to any particular contractual arrangement.

Of course it's too deeply embedded to be logical about it now.

As to being popular with other Christians, I don't know. I see Christian bigots on the news, but most that I've talked to seem more like you. Maybe the bigots live near the TV stations :-)

Thu Dec 4 21:58:13 2008: 4842   anonymous

Very passionate response. However, before pointing out the ignorance in others it is very important to make sure you know what you are talking about. Clearly you have not even read the California Supreme Court decision that sparked prop 8. In this decision the court makes it clear that California law ensures gay and lesbian couples, through civil unions, every right and advantage that heterosexual couples except the use of the actual term 'marriage'. The decision that struck down prop 22 states that because a different words (civil union vs. marriage) that there was the possibility for different treatment in the future.

Marriage is a word that has meant something specific for hundreds if not thousands of years. Prop 8 does not deny anyone anything. It simply says that the word marriage still means what it has always meant. Other than the use of the actual word marriage it does not, under current California law, discriminate against anyone. I find it very unfortunate that most people on both sides of the issue take the time to say disparaging and ridiculous things and yet do not even take time to educate themselves on the issues involved. But then I guess the people pushing these issues are counting on this.

Fri Dec 5 03:13:55 2008: 4843   TonyLawrence


Fri Dec 5 04:06:32 2008: 4844   TonyLawrence

If the intent of the proposition was simply to clear up possibly conflicting language and words, it could have done that without stripping people of their rights.

Mealy-mouthed excuses don't change reality.

Get lost. I don't want you here.

Fri Dec 5 05:15:24 2008: 4845   larry

So I'm digging around on google looking for some UUCP info, and land here on aplawrence.com again (I expect anyone who has had to deal with Openserver is familiar with the little man in the boat logo). Got bored with UUCP and started clicking around the site and was rewarded with this little gem of a post. I am gay, and it is refreshing to see more straight folks 'get it.' Especially smart, geeky straight folks. Also, the trending is very promising. In 2000, Prop 22 passed by 22 points. In 2008, Prop 8 passed by 5. As more closed-minded people die off, this trend will continue, so I'm not too worried about it.

Rock on, Anthony.

Fri Dec 5 12:49:44 2008: 4848   TonyLawrence

I hope you are right, Larry. Unfortunately, I think there are plenty of young morons still.

Fri Dec 5 18:06:59 2008: 4850   anonymous

Sounds like you don't want people to be able to vote. Just let society follow the opinions of A.P. Lawrence website. Like the one poster stated, that every time it goes to vote it is more in favor of the gay agenda. When all of society is pro gay you will get your way. Until then you might try to support your cause in a different way. Calling me a moron when you don't know my education or position is life is well... moronic :)

Fri Dec 5 19:25:30 2008: 4851   TonyLawrence

Your stupidity is showing.

Read what I said about voting. Actually never mind - don't. Just go away.

Fri Dec 5 21:08:11 2008: 4852   anonymous

Amazing responses from an otherwise nice site administrator. An issue comes up and I go vote. I don't insult gays or make them feel inferior. However your bashing everyone else who has a different opinion! I wonder if the gay movement is this nasty or just people who "are not gay just supporting them".

Fri Dec 5 21:43:53 2008: 4853   TonyLawrence

Explain to us your reasons for voting to deny gays the same rights the rest of us have.

Fri Dec 5 22:23:47 2008: 4854   anonymous

"Explain to us your reasons for voting to deny gays the same rights the rest of us have."

I don't want their rights restricted. I think anyone, boy, girl, two boys, two girls, hey three or four should be allowed to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes just like I can.

I do take issue with people parading down streets calling me a bigot. I mean, here I am with my family, minding my own business, paying taxes, and a whole group of people who want to change clothes and sex with each other now want to call themselves married. If I am given a chance to vote against what has been portrayed to me as a fast lifestyle I will.

Let them make contracts to protect their property because they will break up just as fast as we hetero's do! But to call their union sacred is what I take issue with. Who cares what they do, just don't make me call 'em married.

Fri Dec 5 22:29:49 2008: 4855   TonyLawrence

"Sacred" ???

Where does THAT nonsense come from? Is this a religious issue with you?

And "fast lifestyle"?? What is that supposed to mean? Because it's not YOUR lifestyle it's "fast"??

Your prejudice is shining brightly. I understand - you've been well conditioned by society and perhaps your religion. But so far, all you've presented is just emotion - the "sacred", the "parading", the "fast".

Let's hear some rational reasons.

Sat Dec 6 19:12:29 2008: 4873   anonymous

1) The American form of government is representative democracy, in which majority rule prevails. A majority of voters decided they wanted Barack Obama to be the next president. You made it clear you didn't find any problem with that decision. The majority of California voters decided against homosexual marriage. Since that decision is contrary to your beliefs, you have a big problem with it and think these voters are a bunch of bigoted, religious zealots. Some may be, but all of them had the right to vote on Proposition 8, and they exercised that right. One would think from reading your diatribe that the rights of the majority of California voters should be ignored in favor of the rights (whatever those may be) of some homosexuals living in San Francisco.

2) Marriage has been traditionally defined over the centuries as a civil (not religious) union between a man and a woman. If the voting majority in California thinks that definition should stand, so be it. Quit acting like a sore loser.

3) The "right" to get married is not enumerated in the federal constitution and, in fact, is something that is implicitly covered by the tenth amendment (read that one before you start demanding that the feds jump into the homosexual marriage fray). If a challenge to Proposition 8 ends up before the US Supreme Court, that challenge would most likely fail on constitutional grounds, as similar challenges have in the past.

4) Contrary to what you think, society at large does have the right to dictate individual behaviour. There are many laws on the books that do just that, e.g., not urinating in public or engaging in sex with someone below the age consent (which, again, is not enumerated in the constitution). Using your logic, the behaviour of Warren Jeffs and his followers should be condoned by everyone, even if the majority believes that polygamy and forced marriage are wrong. After all, "they are['nt] harming you."

5) Referring to somebody as moronic because they don't happen to agree with you is childish at best. I'd guess from looking at your website that you are dependent to some extent on the income it generates from advertising. Try not to shoot yourself in the economic foot by alienating those who don't agree with your radical left opinions.

Sat Dec 6 19:22:26 2008: 4874   TonyLawrence

Wrong: the majority does NOT get to overrule the Constitution.

Polygamy should NOT be illegal.

As to "morons", I call 'em as I see 'em. That's what I see.

Tue May 26 19:21:18 2009: 6412   TonyLawrence

The California Supreme Court has decided that marriages of same sex couples will continue to be banned in California.

Idiots. Imposing one groupís idea of morality on everyone else is as ugly as it gets.

Eventually this will change. How many people will suffer until it does?

Mon Jul 1 16:13:34 2013: 12195   TonyLawrence


That was a squeaker.

In any rational world, it would have been unanimous.


Mon Jul 1 18:31:07 2013: 12196   BigDumbDinosaur


That was a squeaker.

In any rational world, it would have been unanimous.

Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court didn't rule on the merits of the case, which they would not have been able to do, given the ruling that the appellants lacked standing. Therefore, California has not been enjoined from putting this proposition back on the ballots come the next general election. The only difference will be that next time an appeal is started should a lower court again rule that Proposition-whatever is unconstitutional, the appeal process will end at the state supreme court.

All these legal maneuvers create an interesting conundrum. How does a proposed amendment to a constitution end up being ruled as unconstitutional? Without passing judgment on Proposition 8 and what it was all about, I fail to see how a court can prevent a constitution from be amended, even if the amendment is fundamentally flawed. Given that level of power, it seems that a court could infinitely prevent any future amendments to any constitution in that court's area of jurisdiction.

Mon Jul 1 18:49:49 2013: 12197   TonyLawrence


I know. I should have said: in a rational world, there would have been a unanimous decision in favor of rights rather than this, but even this shouldn't have been 5-4.


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