Today, the first state legislative body in U.S. history passed a bill recognizing gay marriage and while gay rights’ groups & their allies are singing hosannas, I fear this will set back the movement for gay marriage.
If this bill had passed in a state whose citizens had not already voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, I would be singing an entirely different tune. I believe that elected state legislatures, rather than courts, should set the criteria for marriage in their jurisdictions. But, certain states, like California, where the state Senate approved today a bill recognizing gay marriage, allow for initiative and/or referenda to amend the state’s constitution or otherwise make law.
In 2000, more than 60% of California voters approved Proposition 22 which “added a section to the state Family Code stating that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.’” Because the legislature has acted against the will of the people, the Senate’s vote today will embolden those forces opposed to gay marriage and state recognition of domestic partnerships. (If legislators believe the people have changed their minds on gay marriage, as some have suggested, then they should seek to repeal Prop. 22 with another initiative, a repeal I would support.) As I have expressed previously, “I fear that the end result of this legislation will be an amendment to the state’s constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Today’s vote does a disservice to those who truly seek state recognition of gay marriage in the Golden State–indeed in any state. Instead of trying to lobby the most out-of-touch state legislature in America, advocates of gay marriage should be making their pitch to the American people. Because if we can change their minds, then we could better create a climate in this nation where state legislatures — and the citizens who elect them — would support state recognition of our unions.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
PS I am on vacation now and will have more to say on this anon.