Monday, June 16, 2008

Committed Couples Both Gay and Straight

After the close of business today, it will now be legal for same-sex couples to marry in California. The tides are shifting and opinions are changing and hopefully by the time the November election rolls around, the majority of Californians will choose not to take away what the State Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional to deny in the first place - the right to marry.

This is significant. Unlike many other states who did amend their constitution, Californians won't simply be voting on how we should define marriage. Rather, they'll be voting on whether or not we should take back civil rights that have already been given. No doubt, by November there will have been thousands of gay and straight couples legally married in the state. Voting for an amendment to specifically define marriage as only between a man and a woman is in essence saying "these" Californians can continue to marry but "those" Californians cannot.

Separate but equal. It's supposed to be unconstitutional. Unless of course, we just change the constitution. Now that's justice.

There will be a day when I will publicly declare my commitment to the man I love and I will claim my rights and privileges as a citizen and resident by having our relationship acknowledged by the state. No one should tell us that we should be happy with a second-class classification like domestic partnership with "similar" but not all the rights of marriage that straight citizens enjoy.

I agree that not everyone should marry (especially after today). But we should all have the right to make that choice.

As I step down from my soap box, I wanted to share with you an article from the New York Times that talks about studies comparing the relationships of both same-sex couples and also heterosexual couples. The studies reveal very interesting things about gender and marriage and relationships.

"A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships. Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships . . . ."

Click here to read the article: "Gay Unions Shed Light on Gender in Marriage" (You may need to click the button to skip the Ad.)

Imagine that. Straight people can learn something from gay people.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for awhile now and I'd like to say that I think you've got good thoughts on what it truly means to be a [gay] Christian. I put gay in brackets because I believe that being gay doesn't in anyway negate the fact you are a Christian. I realize many people [Christians] would disagree but I can't bring myself to believe that a God who is all-loving would reject a significant portion of the population simply because of their sexuality. I'm not gay but I do know what it's like to be an outsider in the church setting and reading through your blog has been a help in some of my struggles. So thank you for that.

I wanted to ask your opinion on the matter of California legalizing same-sex marriage. This was a decision brought on by the courts and not legislation. While I do think that there should not be any law prohibiting gay-marriage, it's technically not the court's job to make laws, though they have been doing that for quite some time now. Do you see this as problematic or not? I am just curious.

Thank you for your time, and thank you even more for this blog.

Eric said...

Hi Ally,

Thank you very much for your comments about the blog and the issue/journey that many Christians experience. Your love, support, and hospitality makes a difference!

In regards to my opinion about the courts and legislation, I'm planning on writing another post with excerpts from the Supreme Court's majority decision. So that'll be posted soon.

My initial thoughts are that I think there's a distinction between judges creating a law where none existed before and judges interpreting existing law.

I don't believe, in this particular case, that the Supreme Court was creating new law. In my opinion, they examined existing laws regarding marriage and domestic partnership and ruled that providing differential treatment of straight couples (marriage) and gay couples (domestic partnership) is unconstitutional. They interpreted existing law and ruled that having separate designations is unconstitutional. In that context, they explain that all people are afforded "equal dignity and respect".

I also think that in the Supreme Court's interpreting of existing law, their conclusions about the constitutionality of certain laws or provisions has the effect of change that can be perceived like it's a new law.

But i don't think it's new law. I think it's the court performing its function of ensuring the constitutionality of law. The Legislature writes law, the Supreme Court interprets law, the Executive enforces law. With these separation of powers, we ensure that the majority of people cannot infringe on the rights of the minority through legislation. There could either be an executive veto of such legislation, or a judicial determination that certain legislation is unconstitutional.

So, in a nutshell, that's my view of this. I'd also note though, that while the Supreme Court's majority decision takes effect, there were dissenting judges in the minority that did think the others were overstepping their bounds.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

magandang ooh maga say e yo. Did i say that right? Hi. bah ah lum na. Did i say that right?