Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blue in a Red State

Meters swum today: 1700
Playing on the iPod: Paul Horn, from "Celtic Solstice"

What with all the excitement and a nonwhite nonold guy getting elected to lead a nation of 300 million mainly nonwhite nonold folks, the whole Prop. 8 thing in California barely got any press. In case you haven't heard yet, it passed. Which means what exactly? Well, it changes Article 1, Section 7.5 of the California Constitution to read as follows: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Which means what exactly? Well, that two men or two women can't marry each other in California. (I guess the two men could each marry one of the two women and they could all set up a household together, but that might get a bit complicated.) So gay couples can't get married in California anymore.

So, what happens to all the folks, like me, who got married between the time the California Supreme Court said that gay couples had to be allowed to marry, and now? Well, that is the million dollar question. Nobody really knows. Some legal scholars are saying all those marriages are void. There's a big argument about whether a marriage can be annulled by anyone other than one of the participants but I won't get into that here. Attorney General Jerry (Gov. Moonbeam) Brown states that he believes said marriages are valid. Which means that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California unless you happen to be one of the 18,000 couples who got hitched between last May and now, and yours is valid but nobody else's is.

That may make legal sense but the logic is lost on me. The only really good analogy is laws against black and white folks marrying each other, which were on the books in most states within my lifetime (and I ain't 40 yet). If California had amended the constitution to read, "Only a marriage between two persons of the same race is valid or recognized in California," but then stated that anybody who happened to already be in a mixed-race marriage was okay, would that make any sense?

If you're wondering how in hell this law got passed in the first place, I turn you to the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, which is putting the blame squarely on the Mormon Church. The group Mormons For Marriage (an odd moniker for a group of people that tends to marry four or five wives at a time) raised a ridiculous amount of money to fund ads with cute little girls coming home from school and saying, "Mommy, they told us in school that two little girls can get married when they grow up, is that true?" Too bad the anti-Prop 8 folks didn't run ads showing the same little girl coming home from school and saying, "Mommy, we're studying the California constitution, and it says that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California, why did they put that in there?"

But I digress. Click, if you will, on the next link, which will take you to Invalidate 8. Not only is this group raising money to fight this new law, they're doing it with a fine sense of sarcasm. For any donation over $10.00 (I sent 'em $25) they will send a postcard to the president of the Mormon Church, Thomas Monson, which reads as follows:

Dear President Monson:
A donation has been made in your name by _________________ to “” to overturn California's Proposition 8 and restore fundamental civil rights to all citizens of California. The money will be donated to legal organizations fighting the case and to support grass-roots activities in support of full marriage equality. Although we decry the reprehensible role the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leadership played in denying all Californians equal rights under the law, we are pleased a donation has been made on your behalf in the effort to overturn the discrimination your church members helped enshrine in the California Constitution. Given that throughout its history the Mormon Church has been subjected to bigotry, we hope you appreciate the donation in your name to fight religious bigotry here in California.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine got a check from his uncle for graduation along with a note that read, to the effect of, "If you cash this, you will be accepting that capitalism is the only real way to freedom and that all of your socialistic ideas are crap." He cashed it and sent the entire amount, which was considerable, to the American Communist Party in his uncle's name. I imagine the poor guy is still on their mailing list.


David Isaak said...

Yes, the Mormons were fervently pushing Prop 8. SO were the Hispanic Catholics, who were having street-corner rallies in Anaheim on Nov 3rd and 4th.

I figure that the Mormans are just ticked off because if they can't have polygamy--which, of course, is the tradional form of marriage in the Bible, and for that matter, in most societies until recently--then nobody else can have anything interesting either.

I'm not sure what's behind all the Catholic pressure. Maybe the priests are a little miffed about the stuff that's been coming down on them lately and want to spread the pain?

Jen Ster said...

Too bad about Hispanic and black folks. I'd like us all to be in the same boat together, but I think in some circles if you're gay it makes you not Hispanic anymore, or not black anymore, or something like that. Having never been black or Hispanic I can't really say. If I get another go-round I want to be a black woman. They have the most awesome hair.

BTW, how's this for irony - Ireland, which is like 98 percent Catholic, will be creating a civil marriage for same-sex couples sometime next year. Maybe I should change my blog title and become the Buddhist in the Claddagh Belt.