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Marriage overturned

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Proposition 8 was a heartbreaker for those who loved Candidate Obama the second best. His greatest admirers were those like Samuel Jackson who saw in him an ethnic reflection of themselves. His “message” didn’t mean shit to them. But a close second in devotion is that other bulwark of Democratic politics, the gay community. Though they tended towards Hillary (a known fan of sensible shoes), like many other key groups they saw in Obama a champion of their cause. They were as disappointed as the young hemp enthusiasts but much sooner. They knew on Election Day that Prop 8 had passed adding an Amendment to the California Constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

The dissappointment was to some extent their own fault. Candidate Obama had never publicly supported literal gay marriage any more than President Bush had. Rather, like those who took cannibis for medical reasons and hoped to be able to take it legally in any setting, the gay marriage advocates assumed that a President Obama would indeed be actively on their side though his stock response to questions always was, “My position is the same as the President’s (Bush), civil unions.) No one believed it. I don’t believe it. What are the odds that Obama TRULY does not favor absolute equality of gay marriage? As an issue it is uniformly supported by his demographic; elite university graduates/government bigwigs. But an alliance of gays and their  more numerous allies is far from a majority; not even in a Democratic primary. It might be different if the balance of the electorate were, like me, flagrantly apathetic to marriage, gay or sullen. That is not the case. Mr. Hillary knew it although he clearly was hostile to all marriage. He made his accommodations with his own base on gay issues, recognizing two powerful blocks were and are opposed to “gay rights” as we know them. That would be the Catholics and the blacks.

We’ll throw the Latino vote in with the Catholics, no objections there, right? It is a statistical, electoral fact (as far as such can be determined): it was the appearance of Barack Hussein Obama on the national ballot that made Proposition 8 a near certainty. How? Why? The Golden State, birthplace of referenda, had been a battle-ground on this issue for years. Before Prop 8 there had been an ordinary statute of identical construction. It was struck down by the State courts. So the defenders of traditional marriage, as they style themselves, set about immediately to put an Amendment in place. The marriage enthusiasts were also energetic. They married and married and married boosting the sales of wedding kit and fattening the wallets of many a photographer. In part this is pent-up demand, yes? Those who could not swing the airfares to Hawaii or Mitt’s Massachusetts could now enjoy a court ordered matrimonial regime like those happy jurisdictions. But this was also a move in the great chess tournament; a castling maneuver that would protect their newly uncovered rights with the weight of the Grandfather Clause. If all this was going on without your knowledge, you are in good company. As can happen even with a political obsessive, this controversy came to the attention of much of the electorate only at the polls on election day. Collectively the opposing forces spent about $80 million in advertising and for once the divide was almost even. It is the gunslingers’ permanent frustration that lavish spending STILL does not reach many ears and long-term polling STILL does not capture many voices so the gay marriage lobby had a brutal shock to go along with their relief at seeing the tailpipes of John McCain. Prop 8 won handily, even in a solidly Blue state, even with a pumped up Dem turnout. And the culprit was Barack Obama.

Chalk this up to the eternal perversions of politics. Obama’s presence on the ballot naturally SPIKED black turnout and this is after a spike in black registration fanned by his candidacy. Hillary would certainly have won California and probably with as great a margin. The pro-8 hispanic vote would have been largely the same. The anti-8 gay vote would have been largely the same. And Democrats collectively would oppose Prop 8 but the newly engorged black vote most certainly did not. Whether religious or secular, even the Californian black community is not up for this particular struggle. It adamantly prefers its gay constituents on the Down Low. Those calculating electoral chits certainly knew that on both sides. The PR men however, and this includes the candidates, had good reason to disbelieve and keep to themselves the private cautions of the gunslingers: as the Obama vote increases so does the support for Prop 8. You know the reasons. To even admit to such a breech in your coalition is to encourage the breech to widen. The fissure between the Democrats and the devout is one of the most active known to Crackology while even the gay vote is far from a monolith. Elections sweep away the stucco and show the state of the brick underneath.

The courts have always been more availing than The People so off to the courts we go. The 9th Cir Ct of Appeals strikes down the Amendment as the State courts struck down the law. And on even more expansive grounds. Whatever your views you may find that you are not familiar with the arguments even of your own side. No need to break a sweat catching up. I relieve all the combatants of their duties with the simple observation that the decision of the 9th, should it be upheld, has rendered ALL marriage Unconstitutional.

Deviation from a position shared by Barack Obama and George Bush is difficult to categorize as Left or Right so let us assert that it is ABOVE the prejudices of both these gentlemen. My position, which has now been ratified at the Federal level is not Marriage for All, but Marriage for None. Both Obama and Bush favor civil unions or domestic partnerships for gays that exclude “marriage” only rhetorically. Some of the State civil unions laws actually state the intent to deliver ALL the rights and privileges of marriage, except the name. The 9th correctly decides that this can only be explained by an animus for a particular group of citizens. Unlike the gay lobby, I will not define either religious scruple or Common Law objections as mere bigotry but our tattered Constitution clearly states Equal Protection under the Law as sacrosanct. Yes, the Constitution was ratified while truly horrific punishments were prescribed for homosexuality in some precincts. That is of no consequence. Precedent, legislation and simple social requirements have rendered those moot, even in hellish Texas! All citizens are to be held in common before the law. That means not civil unions for gays but, as far as the government is concerned, civil unions for ALL!

So what will this mean, if marriage is struck down, as the gay lobby puts it, like segregated schools? The Grandfather Clause, wrinkled gift of the Common Law, is again in play. Your marriage, as well as a sacred bann, is already a civil union; a contract recorded at your county clerk’s office. Yes, your divorce, annulment, adoption, military separation, deeds, trusts, wills and diverse other social agreements are there as well and like your marriage contract are unaffected by mere changes in their names. In Louisiana they pollute our legal system with FRENCH, yet their records are as sound as any other (in just theory). No, this does not admit polygamy necessarily. Keeping the partnerships to one-on-one is a perfectly sound restriction that can be applied to all evenly. And let us quickly put aside the bilious absurdity that we now admit inter-species marriage. No, however comely your goat, Abdul, you cannot make an honest doe of her (or billy of him). This contract is a contract. If you can’t buy a used car from livestock neither can you marry it. This also means that no one otherwise incompetent to contract can enter into marriage. The legal age for marriage has just become 18 or whatever the Age of Majority is by statute. Perhaps this is something for the traditionalists but there is something else larger and far more important. Believers, if you don’t believe me, believe your eyes your ears and the Constitution; government and religion just don’t mix. The religion sinks right to the bottom. If you, as you should, want the government out of your medicine and your charity you must be willing to get your religion out of government. So what does this mean? It means that marriage will still exist but will only be recognized as a civil contract equal to others in the public, legal realm. That is only part of our existence for the moment and the de-recognition of marriage is part of the defense of the perilously shrinking private sphere. You may still be married by a priest and it will still be a sacrament with your congregation, like Confession or a bar mitzvah. Does the county record your First Communion? Okay, maybe in Louisiana, but what is it’s legal weight? None or nearly none. Does that diminish its relevance to you or to Eternity? If so I think you have missed a day or two of Catechism.

In any event, keeping marriage “holy” doesn’t seem to have increased its staying power. Even those precincts that don’t recognize divorce have a divorce rate at least equal to the nation at large. What does that tell you? Is all marriage sacred? What of marriage concluded by fraud? Wracked with adultery or violence? Or plagued with reciprocal apathy? If that is Holy Matrimony, give me Unholy Divorce! Most marriages are initiated by the man; most divorces by the woman and never have I encountered an unjust divorce. Marriages that profane the name through their condition are endemic. So save the snark at the irony of the First Gay Spouses of California making use of the surviving law of Gay Divorce. If marriage is not in the heart and of free will, something only the participants can decide, then it is better we do not enforce it with the alacrity of the Fugitive Slave Act. Once the separation of the sacred from the earthly was a large part of religious faith and practice. Now we have an opportunity to Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and reserve to ourselves the sacred and eternal while admitting our own fallibility and embracing our neighbors without malignity. This we can do while renewing our vows to the most basic tenet of our beloved and beleaguered Constitution. Shall we do that? Yes.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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