Well the usually conservative U.S. Supreme Court has gone and done it this time. In a what can best be described as a historic move the Justices have struck down California’s Prop 8 and paved the way for same sex marriages to resume in California. Chalk one up for gay rights, justice has been served at last, or has it? Opponents of the measure vow to carry on their fight in California and say they will seek a “binding and enforceable” state-wide order preventing Proposition 8 from being enforced by California laws. Such a move could set off a lengthy legal battle that could leave gay marriage in a state of uncertainty at least for awhile.
Okay so let’s see if I got this right. First off California voters pass Prop 22 back in 2000, a ballot measure that takes a wholly traditional view of marriage and states “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Eight years later the California Supreme Court overturned the proposition and declared that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry which opens the floodgates on gay marriage across the state. Are you with me so far? All righty then.
In November of that same year Prop 8, an exact, word for word clone of the former prop 22 was on the ballot for voter consideration. It passed by a narrow 5% margin and went into effect immediately the following day. It’s passage effectively overturned the California Supreme Court ruling and once again restricted a legal marriage as one between a man and woman. Although it became law, the proposition had no affect on same sex marriages performed before the November election and started a legal battle that made its way through the system all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where yesterday the Justices at long last gave their decision.
It would appear that all the Prop 8 validity lawsuits, rallies, demonstration, candle-light vigils and protests that occurred here in California and across the nation had a major effect on the social conscious of America as witnessed by the Supreme courts decision yesterday. Whether or not it is a good decision remains to be seen. Religious and Civic leaders as well as traditional marriage advocates believe the defeat of prop 8 as the beginning of the end and a resounding slap in the face to the holy tradition of marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and woman. They believe that the well-being of the social fabric is at stake here and that this Supreme Court decision does not serve the common good.
So where do you stand on this issue. I know several people who have a tough time accepting a gay marriage as a realistic or practical union. They often cite the adverse affect such relationships have on the children of such unions. I can tell you I’ve seen plenty of adverse effects on children of traditional marriages, I don’t believe your preference in a partner has an effect on the type of parent you will be. Although I believe gay couples can be good, loving parents I do not have a definitive opinion on the issue. I’m sure some of my doubt is a result of my Catholic upbringing on what is right and wrong or what constitutes a sin and what doesn’t. It is these doctrines directly out of the Baltimore Catechism that have brainwashed my thought process and remain deeply embedded in my psyche. I truly believe that everyone has a right to be as happy as possible in their lives regardless of their believes, religion or sexual orientation. I’m just not certain what the cost of these liberties should be.
I’m sad to admit that in my lifetime I have seen gay bashing and been party to jokes about gays and lesbians. But those episodes, though rare were a result of my ignorance and lack of life experience. I had no clear understanding of the seriousness of their plight in what I once thought of a normal world. If I have learned nothing else I’ve learned that there is no definitive degree of normalcy, soundness or even acceptability. Gayness is not an illness as many people choose to believe, it is not a choice. It is a way of life, it is a part of a persons physiological make up just as how we choose to live is a part of ours.
Love is love my friends, it’s the real thing. When you’re in love there is no other feeling like it. You’re every sense let’s you know it. Love is good, it is the tie that binds a relationship. And God is love. therefore, how can love, true love, even if it is between two people of the same sex be wrong? Sadly there are those in our society who will never accept gay marriage or same sex relationships and will continue to make their lives difficult. As a Catholic I’m sure the Church will continue to make the case against gay marriage and profess that the institution of marriage cannot be redefined. No, this battle is far from over my friends, far from over.