As I’ve reported before (indeed, alluded to the phenomenon in my previous post), in the aftermath of the passage of California’s Prop 8, the individuals and organizations spearheading the various postmortems failed to include gay Republicans or conservatives on their panels.
In fact, during the campaign, they didn’t seem much interested in soliciting our opinions on how to appeal to “movable” conservatives. At a West Hollywood meeting for gay Republicans, the “No on 8” folks seemed more interested in enlisting us in their campaign than in hearing our ideas on how to improve it. The were decidedly cool to my suggestion that they ask Ward Connerly, well regarded by California conservatives, to cut a TV commercial against the initiative.
They thought he might offend people on the left–not realizing of course that (most of) the people he might “offend” were already dead-set against 8.
Despite the coolness of the gay organizations to conservative input, I’m going to put forward my ideas on how best to overturn Prop 8.
I agree with those gay organizations who want to wait until 2012 to repeal the measure at the ballot box, but we need the proper ballot language. With the intention of working toward that goal, I put forward here my draft initiative. While I believe this measure could pass muster with Golden State voters, I want to hear your opinions before I send it out to the various gay organizations. I particularly want to hear from those with legal backgrounds on how I can improve language:
This replaces Article 1, §7.5* of the California Constitution with the following:
(a) the legislature shall determine the qualifications for recognizing marriages in California;
(b) Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within their faith.
(c) The state may not require any such organization, association or society to perform or accommodate a marriage at odds with its religious doctrine, policy, teachings, and beliefs
I adopted subsections (b) and (c) from the New Hampshire law recognizing same-sex marriages. I debated also including section 2 of the Granite State legislation, but don’t believe the constitution is the appropriate place for such lengthy provisions.
Now, I grant giving the legislature the power to set the qualifications for marriage does not guarantee that the state will recognize same-sex marriages, but this provision makes it easier to appeal to conservatives (like myself) who believe legislatures and not the courts should resolve the issue.
As to provisions (b) and (c), I’m not really sure they’re necessary, believing that the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment to the federal constitution protects the rights of religious organizations, associations, and societies to set their own marital standards. That said, inclusion of this provision undercuts one of the strongest argument that opponents of state-recognized same-sex marriage have made, that it’s a back door to undermining the doctrines of various faiths.
I believe it would be very hard to run against this proposed initiative.
So now, I put it out there for your comments. I’ll consider any sincere suggestions you may have, revising my proposal accordingly before sending it out to the various gay organizations.
Given their record and given my politics, I doubt they’ll pay it much heed, but still I’ll try.