The people vs. Marriage – California’s Prop 8

As part of life here in Berkeley, I do a lot of walking. I only live about 10 mins away from Campus so it’s a nice walk when it’s not too cold. Yeh, you’d be surprised, Norcal gets to single digit degrees in Summer.

I seem to get stopped a lot, usually by a homeless person disguised as a businessman in a suit asking for money, they’re a whole other story but it makes interesting background, or so I tell myself.

California recently passed a law ( Prop 8 ) by referendum that states “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” overturning its Supreme Court’s ruling that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

So, I’ve been getting stopped by activists in the street regarding their campaign to overturn the proposition at the next election. They aim to have it put back on the ballot so it can be voted on again.

They are always very perky, asking for extremely precise but unfeasible quantities of money “Hi Sir, all you need to spare is $270” and I laugh in their faces. Why they think that students will have a spare $270 I don’t know.

But, in their defence, they have really got me thinking about gay marriage. Well done, there is so much I tend to ignore but this has been on my mind for weeks.

So, my thoughts are as follows.

Marriage is between a man and a woman. Bam, weren’t expecting that one were you. But seriously, in my mind marriage is purely religious affair that happens in a place of worship between a man and a woman. To use a stereotype it’s a man in a tux and a woman in a big white dress in a church in the countryside surrounded by smelly aunts.

That’s my definition that I’m going on, but this is what I think marriage should be:

Marriage should be religious ceremony conducted by a faith. It should not constitute a legal contract, it should not be recognised by the state, and it should not confer any rights or responsibilities except to the faith performing it.

The state should cease to acknowledge, perform or have any relationship with marriages.

Civil partnerships should be extended to cover any two individuals of legal age. Civil partnerships should only be performed by and recognised by the state. These partnerships should confer legal rights and any other privileges enshrined in law.

You could of course do both at the same time, state official and religious official performing the legal act and the religious rite concurrently.

Essentially we should abolish marriage. It can continue to exist but we need not legislate on it as it carries no weight and in the eyes of the law is meaningless. The only way to codify a relationship should be through the contract of a civil partnership.

I got these ideas through a bit of a process, a bit of the socratic method, I knew where I wanted to get, I firmly believe that creating two partnerships for straight and LGBT people is the same as separate but equal, intrinsically unequal.

Also, It seems ridiculous to force religions to accept LGBT people under their doctrines as the same as non LGBT people, we have to realise that we can’t convince religions to change, why should they, religion isn’t a logical or rational pursuit and that’s fine, as long as we don’t give them any power.


5 thoughts on “The people vs. Marriage – California’s Prop 8”

  1. I agree with most of your blog, as a gay man I have regularly commited acts which contravene the scriptures of the Bible and the Koran , so have always been perplexed as to why some factions of the gay community insist on being part of a faith that largely condemns their lifestyle.

    However, your closing statement that we ‘can’t convince religions to change’ and that despite defying rational or logic we should allow religions to continue, so long as we don’t give them power, strikes me as a little too blasé. Religions don’t need to be handed power to have it, in abundance. No government on earth can compete with the power and influence of the Catholic church, which as it happens has an appaling stance on gay rights, aligning homosexuality with paedophilia, discouraging condom use with the adverse effect of spreading HIV among gay men and so on.

    So, just as France has imposed a partial burka ban for reasons of public safety, (although nowhere in the Koran does it say a woman’s face and body should be covered in a layer of thick black cloth) I believe governements should act on any religious activity perceived as treating gay people as anything less than equals , beyond giving generalised hate crime status to the more obvious acts of homophobia.

  2. I do agree that faiths have a power that is different from that of the state (worst of all when the two aren’t separate – look at Iran) but I would say that in the developed world, religion’s power only really applies to those that choose to allow it to apply to them.
    That doesn’t mean that everyone else is unaffected, the Church is countries like the USA controls vast sums of the campaign finance available putting candidates and often winners in their pocket.
    It seems such a pity really, religion, all in all, is this powerful force for good but we only ever seem to see it doing bad things. Food for thought really.

    1. Indeed, under the last Bush admistration funding for condoms in both the U.S. and Africa was cut and abstinence was promoted far more vigorously than safe sex, clearly this stance was taken due to the presidents faith and that of members of his administration, so I believe that governements in the developed world are in fact informed by religious beliefs, though obviously not taking matters to Iranian extremes and sentencing gay citizens to death!

      Sorry to have taken this discussion away from the subject of gay marriage, but I do believe Bush opposed those too!

  3. This is a great post and may be one that needs to be followed up to see what goes on

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