California Senate Goes Gay

|

The California Senate voted Thursday to allow homosexuals to marry, becoming the first legislative body in the United States to embrace the idea and setting off a scramble for three votes needed for passage in the Assembly.

Almost completely along party lines, the Democrat-controlled Senate approved the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would allow marriage between two people rather than only between a man and a woman.

Whole LA Times piece here.

Julian Sanchez reports on the battle over gay parents here. And Jonathan Rauch made the case for gay marriage here.

NEXT: After a Hurricane, Armed Defense May Be OK

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yay!

    This is how it should be done, through the legislative process, not the courts.

  2. "Almost completely along party lines"

    Who woulda thought? I wonder how many of the Rethuglicans voted against it when they agreed and how many of the Demoncrats voted for it when they disagreed with it. Fuck them all.

  3. Hey, but didn't we vote on this issue already? And didn't the voters firmly shoot down gay marriage? What's the point of voting on it if the legislature (or the courts) will just take matters into its own hands if we make the "wrong" decision? This is just really annoying... expensively annoying.

  4. umm, did California pass an anti-marriage amendment? I wasn't aware.
    And just to remind everyone, in a republic legislative bodies are the ones supposed to make most decisions

  5. Oh Shit they did. Well, we must never forget, in a democratic government it is your fellow citizens who are fucking you over.

  6. By the way, its great to see the democrats getting into the bullshit bill-naming game. They need a cute acronym though.

  7. Andy D:

    kahliforneeya's propositional voting system is good and bad. But, you know, by your standard, why even have a state congress? If the popular vote is enough to make a decision, then, why not just fire all the pols and rely completely on majoritarian direct voting?

    Why not?

    I think our founding fathers knew why not...

  8. To be honest, I'm for any method of giving people rights that have been deprived of them. Voters, legislature, "judicial activists", I don't care. The rights of the minority cannot depend on majoritarian whim. Leave "democratic decisions" to matters that don't take away people's rights merely because the bigoted majority wants to.

  9. California Senate Goes Gay

    Hmm, maybe they will finally fix up that drabby looking capitol building. A little queer eye for the terminator guy will go a long way!

  10. They need a cute acronym though.

    Democratic Yankee Kalifornian Enlightened Senators and Honorants Of Marital Official Sodomy?

    (not meant derogatorily, btw) 🙂

  11. andy,

    "To be honest, I'm for any method of giving people rights that have been deprived of them"

    Your attitude is why our court system is crumbling and judicial nominations have become ugly political knife fights. In long run, how a law comes into being is more important than what the law actually is. If you accomplish a good result by non-democratic means, that weakens democracy long term. It might take a generation or two but eventually, we will pay for it.

    It is much the same reason we have (or at least had) such strict rules about warrants, evidence, surveillance etc in the legal system. A person such as yourself might say, "I don't care how the the cops catch the bad guys as long as they catch them," yet experience has has shown than means become ends over time. We all know that we could drastically reduce crime and probably save many innocent lives by using more draconian policing but we all also understand that the long term effects would far outweigh any short-term benefit.

    In the end, Law has moral authority only because it represents the will of the people not because it cleaves to abstract principles. Creating laws without the ultimate consent of the people eventually destroys the law.

  12. Evan, you misunderstand my problem with all of this. I don't advocate having the public vote on *everything*, especially not when it comes to rights issues. My problem is that here in CA, initiatives go on the ballot that won't hold up to court scrutiny if they pass. So... we shouldn't bother having those initiatives. And it'd be downright ugly to have the legislature vote in something after the voting public has rejected it.

    I'm not against public voting in *all* cases, just the useless cases.

    We probably should have a state congress and voter initiatives... I'd just like for them not to get into each others' way.

  13. There's going to be an amnesty for illegal aliens & open borders very soon.

    Many of California's new voters will be very Catholic and have a streak of homophobia.

    (A Mexican applied for asylum in the US, saying he was afraid of repression in Mexico)

    I wonder how this will play out when a Republican runs on a "No bodas para Maricones" platform?

  14. Andy wrote:
    To be honest, I'm for any method of giving people rights that have been deprived of them. Voters, legislature, "judicial activists", I don't care. The rights of the minority cannot depend on majoritarian whim. Leave "democratic decisions" to matters that don't take away people's rights merely because the bigoted majority wants to.

    Right on, Andy. My loyalty to democracy per se is contingent on the fact that it's the most successfully road-tested form of government for securing individual liberty. But we mustn't forget that Socrates was condemned to die by a majority of the free men of Athens just because they didn't like what he said. If only Athens had had a First Amendment and an "activist" judiciary to thwart the will of the majority, justice would have prevailed.

    "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."
    -Edmund Burke

  15. Much better to do this via legislation than via the courts.

    What is astonishing is that I believe the anti-gay marriage proposition passed with 60% of the vote. The fact that the legislature voted against the expressed wishes of 60% of the populace either reflects extraordinary political courage or an extraordinary level of gerrymandering.

    You make the call.

  16. Thank you Anti-Puritan.

    Shannon,

    "In the end, Law has moral authority only because it represents the will of the people not because it cleaves to abstract principles. Creating laws without the ultimate consent of the people eventually destroys the law."

    I'm sorry, but in some cases "the will of the people" don't mean shit. Democracy is worthless if the people are idiots or assholes. I suppose you'd have been against the abolition of slavery: I mean, it was cool with the Southerners!

    "A person such as yourself might say, "I don't care how the the cops catch the bad guys as long as they catch them,"" No... I wouldn't.

    Anyway, you were comparing giving police draconian powers with giving oppressed minorities their rights, as though they had the same moral standing. The former would do a lot more harm than good, to everyone, while the latter would merely serve to piss off some haters. Who cares if they're in the majority.

  17. Oh, and just for the record, I'd rather live under a benevolent dictator (no, that's not necessarily an oxymoron) than in a democracy filled with ignorant pricks. Wouldn't you, Shannon?

  18. andy:
    Oh, and just for the record, I'd rather live under a benevolent dictator (no, that's not necessarily an oxymoron) than in a democracy filled with ignorant pricks.

    I have to part company with you there. "Benevolent dictator" is effectively an oxymoron, because you have to be a sociopath to do what's necessary to get and keep that job. (You can simply inherit the job of absolute monarch, but that's really a different kind of leader with a different modus operandi.)

  19. Andy:

    Many people mistakenly differentiate greatly between the tyranny of a dictator and the tyranny of the majority. This country, as it slowly but surely abandons all notions of individual freedom, constraints on government power, and last but not least, federalism, the more we see our Constitutional Republic give way to this sort of "whatever 51% of the people say..." type of justification for whatever bullshit some narrow-minded prudes want to push on us.

  20. "I have to part company with you there. ?Benevolent dictator? is effectively an oxymoron, because you have to be a sociopath to do what?s necessary to get and keep that job."

    Again, what is the difference between a benevolent dictator forcing his will on 100% of the people, and 50.1% of the people forcing their will on 100% of the people? A pure democracy differs little, in principle, from a dictatorship. That's why we's a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.

  21. "Many people mistakenly differentiate greatly between the tyranny of a dictator and the tyranny of the majority. This country, as it slowly but surely abandons all notions of individual freedom, constraints on government power, and last but not least, federalism, the more we see our Constitutional Republic give way to this sort of "whatever 51% of the people say..." type of justification for whatever bullshit some narrow-minded prudes want to push on us."

    I'm sorry, Evan, were you under the impression that I disagreed with you about any of this? 🙂

    "I have to part company with you there. ?Benevolent dictator? is effectively an oxymoron, because you have to be a sociopath to do what?s necessary to get and keep that job. (You can simply inherit the job of absolute monarch, but that?s really a different kind of leader with a different modus operandi.)"

    Logistics aside, all I meant was what Evan said: there's really no difference between an evil dictator (or monarch, or whatever you want to call it) and an evil majority. I'm all for democracy, but only when minority rights are ensured.

  22. Evan and andy,
    I was nit-picking about whether there's such a thing as a benevolent dictator. I agree wholeheartedly that tyranny is tyranny is tyranny.

  23. "Logistics aside,"

    Make that "semantics"... 😛

  24. The title of this thread makes me wonder what would happen if we got a "passing legislation will make you gay" meme started. With Republicans in control at the federal level, and in control of a majority of states, their fear of catching the gay is a tool we should exploit. We need to start passing around the idea that every "Yes" vote carries a chance of catching the gay; that the greater the expenditure, the greater the chance of catching the gay.

    "Don't vote for that highway bill, Senator Righteous! You'll catch the gay!"

  25. I am amazed that the Senate ignored the will of the voters on this. The people already voted on this a few years ago and gay marriage lost BIG. The Dems must be trying to shore up their base.

  26. andy,

    Rights have both an abstract and practical existence. People have abstract rights regardless of their physical realities. An inmate of a concentration camp has the abstract rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but practically they have no rights. It is to maintain ones practical rights and not ones abstract rights that the consent of the people is required. All government power, whether positive or negative, evolves from the people. If the people do ntt believe in an abstract right then it will never have any real existence.

    Your assertion that the people are ultimately less trustworthy than some group of elites is instructive of your overall world view. I think you feel more comfortable with some authority figure benevolently granting "rights" and enforcing them with some similar elite method of coercion. Need I remind you of the history of such attempts?

    Your mention of slavery only goes to underscore my point. Southerners attempted to secede precisely because they knew they were doomed to lose the democratic argument and would eventually be out-voted on the issue of slavery. The failure to resolve the issue of slavery democratically resulted in a bloody war.

    "The ends justify the means" certainly feels good and creates the illusion that problems can be solved quickly and cleanly but the long term damage can be severe.

  27. "Your assertion that the people are ultimately less trustworthy than some group of elites is instructive of your overall world view."

    I didn't say that people are necessarily less trustworthy than a group of "elites," merely that in SOME cases that's the case. The civil war was a result of the Northerners trying to enforce their will (which most would agree was justified) on the South, where the issue of slavery had already been decided democratically. That sure as hell didn't make slavery right.

    "The ends justify the means" certainly feels good and creates the illusion that problems can be solved quickly and cleanly but the long term damage can be severe."

    Of course the end justifies the means sometimes, it's just a matter of the respective ends and means. Brown v. Board was certainly a radical move, but I think most would say it was the right one. Negroes are better off than they'd otherwise be and whites are much more tolerant of them due to the exposure and familiarity resulting from integration. Had integration never been federally enforced, I'm not sure if it still would have happened naturally.

    Yes, in general, democratic decisions are better than ones from "elites," but you seem to be spouting a dogmatic view that this is ALWAYS the case.

  28. Shannon Love,
    We're not arguing that the ends justify the means. We're arguing for the principle that pure, majoritarian democracy does not ensure liberty. If the majority should always rule, what's the purpose of the Bill of Rights? Why have a constitutional guarantee of free speech when we can let the majority decide what speech is permissible?

  29. What is astonishing is that I believe the anti-gay marriage proposition passed with 60% of the vote.

    That was five years ago, though. The last poll I saw on the subject was about a year ago, and opposition to gay marriage had dropped to 50%. Given that the momentum in public attitudes is clearly moving in a "pro-gay" direction, the state legislators may have figured that it was in their best interests to stay ahead of the curve.

    Also, it could be that the legislators who voted for the bill come from districts where gay marriage support is greater than 50%. Legislators aren't obligated to obey the will of Californians as a whole -- just the ones in their voting district.

  30. In the best case scenario, democracy is about electing a group of officials who reflect the diverse opinions of the electorate and then holding them accountable when re-election comes around.

    In the more common scenario, democracy enables 51% of us to choose the form of the Destructor. Do you want a money-guzzling nanny-statist who will use coercion to make things warm and fuzzy and fair? Or do you want a money-guzzling war-mongering theocrat who will use coercion to make you behave the way that his literal interpretation of the Bible says you should behave?

    Personally, I think the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man looks good by comparison.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.