As most people expected, the CA Supreme court set California down a rough and tumble middle road with today’s ruling. They upheld the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage but also upheld the roughly 18,000 gay marriages that already occurred.
Some foolish fundies can stomp and cheer at their evangelical gatherings, patting themselves on their backs as they pass snakes around; but don’t be fooled, we have just started down a rough and expensive path.
From a legal standpoint, the court gingerly side stepped the issues of whether CA will recognize new gay marriages. The ruling still recognizes existing gay marriages. What about gay marriages from other states that were performed before the ruling? What about ones being performed now in Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, or Vermont?
The U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize contracts where they have an equivalent. Texas doesn’t have to recognize a gay marriage from Iowa, because they have no equivalent. (Gay marriage advocates would argue that a marriage is the equivalent of a marriage). California on the other hand has 18,000 gay marriage contracts in circulation. What will be the legal delimiter between one of our legal marriages and one of Iowa’s.
All this does is guarantee a bunch of court battles as people test the boundary conditions one by one, chipping away at the imaginary wall between opposite and same sex marriages. If one wants to see how it will play out, just look north. Canada started giving couple rights in 1999. By 2003 Ontario had granted full marriage rights. With only 10 provinces and territories to our 50 states, marriage had gone gay nation wide by 2006.
People like to hide the Status Quo behind some sort of divine command. At one point we had a King, the King was appointed by God and Democracy was heresy. God was also against people who thought that the Earth went round the Sun. God then supported slavery in the South. God next spoke out against women having the right to vote. Then after God let women have the right to vote, they explained that God was against letting people have the right to drink. In the 60’s God was against inter-racial marriage in some states. Now God is saying that he has always held the strict position that marriage is between a man and a women. Except in Bible Times, when it was between a man and several women. Or in the 1500’s when Martin Luther (the father protestinism) granted Landgrave Philip of Hesse a second wife. Or in 1650, when the church decreed that men could have up to 10 wives because so many men had died in the 30 year’s war. Or when God revealed to the Mormons that they should have many wives.
Funny thing about God. He always seems to agree with whoever has the most at stake with the Status Quo. As soon as that stake changes, so does God’s mind. When there was a big tax issue between the American Colonies and Britain, all of a sudden disobedience to tyrants was obedience to God. When the South and North had trade issues and the North became quickly wealthy, God told Lincoln that he changed his mind on the whole slavery thing.
So it will happen again. As California’s 40 Billion dollar deficit looms and young voters start to replace dying old ones, we will ask what all the hubbub is about? Don’t we have more important issues? Massachusetts won’t turn back. As long as there is one state or one country that is allowing gay marriage, California’s existing 18,000 gay marriages make us a tempting target for the next legal battle. As with all change, it WILL happen. It is really just a question of how much shame and stupidity will we display along the way.
God won’t care. He is always on the side of the righteous, meaning whoever is winning at the moment will claim God said they are right. At this moment, some people are saying that God willed Prop 8 to upheld. Others are saying God saved 18,000 marriages.