Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Welcome to Iran

The ruling on Prop 8 is here.

What can ya say? What arguments in logic can be raised against an institution that insists improvisation is its raison d'etre?

Judge Walker cites plenty of Supreme Court decisions to argue gays are a special class, to be protected from the vicissitudes of the majority...but darn little Constitution...

However the ruling fails to be coherent within itself.

Specifically, Judge Walker argues, quoting precedent, that the State does not have an interest in enforcing private moral or religious beliefs without an accompanying secular purpose. This is nowhere in the Constitution or the amendments; the Supreme Court invented a pretty powerful limit on State's rights.

Judge Walker belies this charge by allowing 4 GBL persons to testify about their personal experiences with their sexuality; with the nature of their sexuality; with their emotional reactions to Prop 8 advertising ("It demeans you"). Judge Walker states in Conclusion #77 that "Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians".

The opposition to the GBL lifestyle, which the Judge cites as pervasive based on testimony from expert witnesses, is "private moral or religious beliefs", but emotional support for the GBL lifestyle is just facts? (By the way, Judge Walker mentions that the proponents did not attempt to challenge the credibility of the four gay witnesses...is that supposed to happen? A gay person testifying should be challenged as to their understanding of their own sexuality? Every gay person who was at one point confused about being heterosexual is open to challenge about being confused about being gay. What if they're really bisexual? How can they tell? What objective standard is there that separates a gay man in denial with a bisexual swinger?)

Judge Walker insists that "The First Amendment rights of opponents of homosexuality" will not be harmed or diminished; yet "religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians"; "the cultural meaning of marriage and its accompanying benefits are intentionally withheld"(#54), and affirms "the right of same sex couples to have their official family relationship accorded the same dignity, respect and stature as that accorded to all the officially recognized family relationships"(114), the constant harping on "perpetuates stereotypes" gives the lie to that one. That is THE great flaw in the "you're not affected, lemme alone" argument: How do you generate "dignity, respect and stature" of yourself? Doesn't somebody ELSE have to give them to you? Taken literally, you have no right to approve one marriage over another. That's contrary to the secular purpose of having lots of gay marriages. That does harm. That is just your private moral values, not that you're not allowed to have them, only they're not rational.

Judge Walker maintains that marriage as an institution will change, sure, but it changed for interracial marriage and it changed for gender equality in marriage, and nothing bad happened! So you must secularly assume it will happen here too!

Opposition to that idea has a long history of which Mr. Walker is ashamed. Propogation of that idea has no religious baggage, no history, so...it must be "neutral or positive". (By the way check the divorce rates and domestic violence rates before "gender neutral" and "no-fault" marriage came about. Just saying. Since we're being secular and empirical and utilitarian. Apparently we gotta go for the jugular every--damn--time.)

Forget polygamy; can we continue to criminalize fraud? Can we continue to segregate, demean, stereotype the born liars among us? Hasn't America always conspired against the grifter and the hustler, the con artist? Isnt' that persecution of those who "bear false witness" really a promotion of private religious values and morals? Doesn't great wealth flow to neighborhoods where the biggest con men live? Isn't that a secular benefit? Aren't they able to defend themselves with great "credibility"?

In western Asia there is an ancient realm that has elections and courts and legislatures; but we do not consider Iran free. Iran can vote what it likes, but it is for men steeped in the lore of their separate, moral code that have the final say, that can smite any law or act of government, in the name of Righteousness. The will of the People is subject to challenge in the appropriate forum.

We have that here, now.

Not that you can do anything about it, because you have no authority to decide otherwise:

An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation, and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.


No ayatollah could put it better.