CA Legislature does it again
“For the second time in three years, the Legislature has approved a bill to give same-sex couples the right to marry in California…” according to the San Francisco Chronicle (“Legislature OKs same-sex marriage bill; governor expected to veto” by Haley Davies, Saturday, September 8, 2007).
I know I sound like a broken record, but indulge me for a moment. Before I get into the meat of my post here I’d like to ask a question. Is this an example of the states taking care of the issue of same sex marriage? The California State Legislature is made up of two political bodies: the assembly and the senate. Both of these bodies are comprised of politicians that were elected by the citizens of California. Both of these bodies passed a bill – for the second time – that gives same sex couples the right to marriage. This legislation would undo the legislation passed in 2000 (Prop 22) that defined marriage in a way that prohibits LGBT people from being married.
Does the action of the legislature (elected by the people) represent the will of the voters or does Proposition 22 represent the will of the voters?
I think this situation is more complicated than candidates for president of the US are acknowledging. Frankly, it gets even worse the more I think about it.
Do we really want Schwarzenegger to sign the bill? Of course we do. I think. What would that do to the SSM case that is before the state supreme court? I guess it would make it unnecessary because the people suing for marriage will no longer have a complaint.
Of course, if the governor signed the bill, the two fanatical Christian organizations that are gathering signatures to amend the state constitution against SSM (and possibly all relationship recognition) would be further motivated to their cause. They could really break out the fire and brimstone to push for an amendment if the governor signed. If they succeed, then the law won’t matter and the dropped lawsuits will matter even less (does that makes sense?).
But then again, even if Schwarzenegger doesn’t sign the bill the Zealots for Christ will still push to amend the constitution. They won’t rest until their religious beliefs are imposed on all Californians. So, if the bill is vetoed, the state Supreme Court will still have to decide the case and the constitution could still be amended.
Are you keeping up with me?
Now, in New York State the court said that the Legislature must act – it is not up to the court – if it chooses to, to create SSM or something else, since NY State has nothing at all in place to accommodate same sex couples (and somehow they need legislation to allow marriage even though there is nothing on the books that specifically denies it either). In New Jersey, the court forced the Legislature to act within a certain time frame. They passed Civil Union legislation and Governor signed it into law.
Listen up, Arnold: the Governor of New Jersey signed the bill. The Governor of New York submitted same sex marriage legislation to the Legislature himself and is waiting to sign it. What is your story? Oh, that’s right…you are waiting for the court case to be heard to determine whether or not LGBT Californians are due full citizenship.
This is what kills me. Doesn’t anyone else see what this looks like? I know there are extremely polarized opinions about marriage equality, and I also know there is enormous ambivalence about it too – among heteros as well as homos. Don’t any of THOSE people feel a pang of discomfort about this process?
The people opposed to equality are engaged in rigorous legal acrobatics and will contort their point of view as much as necessary to achieve their goal. What is their goal? They seek to marginalize a minority group that they despise. They want to circumvent all methods of redress available to LGBT citizens. They do not want to let go of their privileged status and they will work feverishly to deny equality to people for whom they have contempt.
The politicians that dodge the issue or offer the platitude “let the states decide” are accomplices to the bigotry…so are the people that don’t push political leaders to take a difficult stand in support of justice.
If it’s ok for the states to decide this issue, then tell me: Was this issue resolved by the voters of California in 2000, or was it decided by the voters of California when they elected and re-elected their state representatives?
Also, please tell me why it is acceptable to jerk around a minority group that is not guilty of any crime and only seeks to have the same consideration of citizenship that an imprisoned serial murderer has? Charles Manson can get married. He wouldn’t have to put up with religious fanaticism, political opportunists or feckless friends to do it either.
Why is anyone ambivalent about gratuitous and desperate attempts to find a way to discriminate?