Thursday, May 28, 2009

Let's Just Outlaw Marriage as a legal Conceit!

Tuesday, the California Supreme Court announced their approval of Proposition 8 (some call it Prop H8). The 6-1 majority went to great lengths to argue that they were not relegating lesbians and gays to second class citizenship because they would not be allowed to call themselves married (except for the 18,000 who got married between May and November last year). They insisted that gays and lesbians have a right to all of the benefits of marriage, they just can't call it that.

So let's just stop calling any sort of legal union Marriage and then we'll all be equal. It's a pretty simple way to resolve this disagreement over the use of the term Marriage. If all can't use it, then none should be permitted to. Let's just call them all Domestic Partnerships, or Civil Unions and be done with it.

Carlos Moreno, the dissenting justice, was correct, in my view, when he said that our constitution should protect unpopular minorities from the tyranny of the majority. But the majority of the court disagreed thereby aligning themselves with the tyranny of the majority. They insisted that the word "marriage" could be reserved for heterosexual unions. In other words, separate but equal is equal. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 55 years ago
in Brown v Board of Education that separate but equal is "inherently unequal" .

Prop 8 proponents insist that they aren't discriminating against lesbians and gays; they're just protecting the holy estate of matrimony. I suggest that the best way for them to protect it is to make it a private arrangement; get government out of the marriage business. Let's just eliminate Marriage from all legal documents including the license to wed. Let's call them Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships on all legal documents, including the county license, and see how that works.


  1. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Semantics should be explored:
    Marriage (noun) The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
    Marry (verb) To join as spouses by exchanging vows--to unite in a close personal way.
    Betroth (verb) To promise or engage to MARRY.
    Betrothal (noun) The person to whom one is engaged to be MARRIED.
    Breach of Promise "breach of the promise to marry." (Use as a test case--show inequity)

  2. Has there been any discussion concerning my suggestion regarding the breach of promise to marry ? If the promise to marry same sex was rendered prior to prop 8 when same sex was legal in Ca, is a breach of promise law enforceable after p8 ? Look at the definition of "marry". It would make an interesting court case and who knows what could come of it.

  3. John DePaula5:23 AM

    DOMA - what a joke.
    I remember back in the mid-90s, Elizabeth Birch of HRC was debating with Bob Barr (R) of Georgia, the sponsor of DOMA. Birch asked Barr, who had already been divorced twice, just which one of his three marriages he was defending. HA! As always, the hypocrisy of the Republican Party astounds.
    I think that if the Powers-That-Be want DOMA, then I say, 'Fine, as long as we have a law banning divorce.'
    With that kind of restriction, DOMA will last about 2 seconds.