Covering the gay-marriage issue is complex and journalsits need to be aware of its many facets. Not only is it a legal issue with three state Supreme Court rulings legalizing it, but it is also a religious and emotional issue.
And, there is no one gay “leader” who can accurately speak for the entire Gay & Lesbian Community. It is far too diverse. There are even some gay “leaders” who oppose gay marriages.
As a legal issue, three state high courts have ruled that it is a violation of the equal-protection clauses of their state Constitutions to have a two-tiered system of marriages: one for Gays & Lesbians (domestic partnerships) and another for straights (mariage).
But, some opponents say they follow a “higher law,” their religion. Unfortunately for them, religious law is not our rule-of-law in the United States.
In California, proponents of the statewide initiatve, Proposition-8 (which will amend the state’s Constituion and ban gay marriages, overturning the March state Supreme Court ruling) have raised nearly $20 millions, mostly from Mormons.
In TV ads running every day statewide, the Yes-on-8 campaign argues that the state’s high court should have respected the “will of the people” who voted on another initiative declaring marriage to only be between a man and woman.
The state’s Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in March. The court said neither voters, nor the legislature, can adopt an unconstitutional law.
If the voters had approved a state statute that said that wives were the property of their husbands, that too would have been found unconstitutional. So, the opponents of gay marriages are now trying to change the California Constitution.
They may do it. The Yes-on-8 campaign is better funded and statewide polls say the iniaitive is now running about 50-50, with less than 2 weeks before the election.
Even straight Latinos are speaking out on the issue.
“I now believe we simply can’t have a two-tiered system where some of us have the right to marry and others don’t, based on their sexual orientation,” Ruben Navarrette Jr., a vice president and columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune recently wrote.
“The fact that Gays and Lesbians – including those who are already in committed relationships – want to get married doesn’t weaken the institution.
“It strengthens it by allowing more people to participate. As more states allow Gays and Lesbians to marry – Connecticut recently joined California and Massachussettes – I’ve taken note that civilizations have not crumbled.
“Here in California, some people still worry (that) it might,” Navarrette wrote.
Proponents of Proposition-8 are throwing millions into the campaign. For example, Mormons have given over $18.8 million as of October 1st, over 77 percent of all the money raised by the Yes-on-8 campaign since June.
“Opponents of gay marriages make a fuss over the fact that a handful of justices overrode the wishes of millions of voters, Navarrette wrote.
“You don’t say?
“These people are all too eager to use the ballot iniatives to play citizen legislators, as they did eight years ago.
“But, when real legislators pass a law, whatever they come up with must be able to survive judicial review.
“The same goes for voter-approved initiatives.
“The opponents of gay marriages want all the power that comes from making laws, but none of the responsibility of making sure the laws they pass are constitutional,” Navarrette wrote.
In September, the impartial Californai Field Poll found that only 39 percent of likely voters supported Proposition-8.
Just one month later, there was a turnaround and now only 42 percent oppose it.
“One of the reasons for the turnaround seems to be radio and television ads.
“The Yes-on-8 (TVG ad) campaign plays on fear that, if gay marriages contiue, it would make its way into the public school curriculum.
“Good heavens! That (TV ad) does not explain that California parents have the right to be notified of any instruction of sexually-explicit material and to pull their children out of class if they so desire.
“Instead, what we wind up with is Willie Horton meets Sesame Street,” columnist Navarrette wrote.
And, he is a straight Latino.