September 13, 2009

Let's See Who Steps Up Now

Last November, voters in California approved Proposition 8, which enshrined descrimination against same-sex couples by making it illegal for them to marry. Prop 8 received massive backing from conservative religious and political organizations - many from out of state - and as has been the case whenever legalizing bigotry in the realm of matrimony is the goal, its supporters loudly claimed that their goal was to "protect marriage" as a "sacred institution."

What has always been striking about efforts to prevent gays from marrying, however, is how blatant and obvious the hypocrisy is when examined in an even cursory fashion. Backers of Proposition 8 and similiar measures are part of political and religious movement that has little to say about shotgun weddings, quickie Las Vegas nuptials, marriage for money, reality TV shows such as The Bachelor, and Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich who has been married three times, badgered his first wife about divorce while she was in the recovery room after cancer surgery, and wed his third spouse after carrying on an extramarital affair with her behind his second wife's back.

Earlier this month, however, a man in California named John Marcotte successfully executed the first step in what is a brilliant move to expose the hypocrisy of those who would deny others what they want for themselves. On September 1, he filed a petition with the office of the Secretary of State for a ballot initiative called the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act. The Act, which must still gain sufficient signatures to be added to the ballot says, very simply, the following:

No party to any marriage shall be restored to the state of an unmarried person during the lifetime of the other party...
There are some details surrounding "voidable" marriages such as those involving people younger than the age of consent and similar circumstances, but the California Marriage Protection Act is designed to do one thing: Make 99% of all marriages impossible to dissolve.

In all likelihood, Mr. Marcotte's initiative will never make it to the ballot without significant, organized assistance. Of course, if the people who would deny committed same-sex couples the opportunity to marry are truly acting because marriage is, in fact, sacred, one might suppose that we'll see strong backing from the supporters of Proposition 8. But you probably shouldn't hold your breath.

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