On your knees for this proposition

Cal­i­for­nia can be a pret­ty wacky place some­times. It’s a pret­ty heav­i­ly polar­ized state polit­i­cal­ly, gar­ner­ing it a rep­u­ta­tion (depend­ing on who you ask) of extreme con­ser­vatism and of rad­i­cal lib­er­al­ism. It’s part of what makes it inter­est­ing to live here, and excit­ing to be a part of the vot­ing constituency.

I received in the mail today my vot­er pam­phlet. There’s a pri­ma­ry elec­tion com­ing up, and there are over a dozen propo­si­tions for us to vote on. Some of course are pre­dictable: we get to choose between low­er tax­es and bet­ter libraries, and the peren­ni­al debates go on about law enforce­ment and civ­il lib­er­ties. A major retail tobac­co store own­er wants to reduce the tax­es on cig­a­rettes. Most­ly the same old stuff. But just to keep us on our toes, some­times they throw us a real curveball.

I’d heard about Propo­si­tion 22 before. There are ads on TV and fly­ers in the streets. Most­ly the sen­ti­ment seems to be against, but I live in San Fran­cis­co, so I would­n’t be sur­prised if the pro-Prop. 22 fac­tion gave up on this area before they began. Referred to as the «Knight Ini­tia­tive» (it was authored by State Sen­a­tor Pete Knight), Prop. 22 would amend Cal­i­for­nia fam­i­ly law to include, «Only mar­riage between a man and a woman is valid or rec­og­nized in California.»

Of course this is con­tro­ver­sial. Per­son­al­ly, I think same-sex mar­riage is fine and should be legal, but I know there are a lot of folks out there who dis­agree with me about that. I’m not here to argue that, though. Maybe it could be the top­ic for anoth­er piece of Opin­ion­at­ed Junk1, but right now it’s not the issue.

See, same-sex mar­riage is already banned in Cal­i­for­nia. The Knight ini­tia­tive has noth­ing to do with whether or not same-sex cou­ples can be mar­ried. In Cal­i­for­nia, they cannot.

But there’s this lit­tle loop­hole that has been used occa­sion­al­ly, and I under­stand how frus­trat­ing it can be for the oppo­nents of same-sex mar­riage. It’s dif­fi­cult some­times when you want to stop some­thing, and sneaky peo­ple just keep find­ing ways around the obsta­cles that you put up. I mean, that is the nature of sneaky peo­ple after all, right?

So what some ded­i­cat­ed same-sex cou­ples have done is to leave Cal­i­for­nia and go get mar­ried some­where where there is no ban on same-sex mar­riage. I think Hawaii used to be one of those places, and did­n’t I just read about the Ver­mont Supreme Court rul­ing in favor of same-sex mar­riage? I don’t real­ly know. I haven’t ever want­ed to get mar­ried to anoth­er man, so the prac­ti­cal details haven’t real­ly been rel­e­vant to me. Any­how, those folks went and got mar­ried and came back to Cal­i­for­nia, where they con­tin­ued to live as hap­pi­ly mar­ried Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dents of the same gender.

(OK, maybe they aren’t always hap­pi­ly mar­ried. It was a fig­ure of speech. It does sort of raise the ques­tion: is it legal for same-sex cou­ples to get divorced in Cal­i­for­nia? I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that one. But I digress.)

The Knight Ini­tia­tive would stop those sneaky peo­ple at the bor­der and tear up their mar­riage license. Their mar­riage would not be legal­ly valid nor rec­og­nized so long as that cou­ple was in California.

So now you under­stand the claims that Prop. 22 «pro­tects» the insti­tu­tion of mar­riage from «Judges in oth­er states try­ing to … force us to rec­og­nize “same-sex mar­riage.”» The pro­po­nents of Prop. 22 claim that «legal loop­holes» could force Cal­i­for­nia to rec­og­nize same-sex mar­riages per­formed in oth­er states.

Dog­gone those nasty legal loop­holes! Always mess­ing things up for you and me. Legal loop­holes set killers out on the streets and put pedophiles in our schools. This one must be bad too! Right? What is this pesky obscure piece of leg­is­la­tion that removes our rights and destroys our sov­er­eign­ty in our own state?

Well, I’ll tell you. Here it is:

Full Faith and Cred­it shall be giv­en in each State to the pub­lic Acts, Records, and judi­cial Pro­ceed­ings of every oth­er State. 

That’s from Arti­cle IV, Sec­tion 1 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. It means that your dri­ver’s license, issued by one state, is valid on the oth­er side of the state line. Legal doc­u­ments issued in Kansas are valid in Mon­tana. And a cou­ple mar­ried in Hawaii is still mar­ried when they set foot on Cal­i­for­nia soil.

How do you go about «clos­ing» that sort of «loop­hole»? Not with a bill. Even enact­ed into law in the state of Cal­i­for­nia, it would be inval­i­dat­ed by the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. The only way to get rid of it would be to amend the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion to revoke Arti­cle IV Sec­tion 1.

Is this what «fam­i­ly val­ues» means? Under­min­ing the pro­tec­tions grant­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion does­n’t sound like «fam­i­ly val­ues» to me. This is the sort of crap that keeps me from vot­ing Repub­li­can. It makes me angry. It real­ly does, because Sen­a­tor Knight and his sup­port­ers are the ones talk­ing about the ero­sion of our trea­sured Amer­i­can val­ues. They imply and even state out­right that if you don’t agree with them that you are some­how un-Amer­i­can, that you don’t have values.

Count­less brave men and women have died so that we might live under the pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. No polit­i­cal sys­tem could pos­si­bly be per­fect, and I’d be the last one to sug­gest that the U.S.‘s is, but the pur­pose of the Con­sti­tu­tion is to pro­tect us from the trai­tors in our midst who would use polit­i­cal office to fur­ther their own agen­das. It’s Sen­a­tor Knight and his ilk that are un-American.

If you live in Cal­i­for­nia or in anoth­er state where sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion is pro­posed, please don’t allow this abom­i­na­tion to pass.

  1. An ear­li­er title for Mono­chro­mat­ic Out­look 

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