Why I Voted ‘Yes’ On Prop. 8

This November 4th in California there is a Proposition on the ballot to reinstate marriage as between on man and one woman. This is Proposition 8. This blog post is my reasons for voting yes on proposition 8.

Here is some history.

In March of 2000 Californians passed Proposition 22 which clarified the California family code that marriage is between one man and one woman. Prop 22 passed with a 61% of the vote. In May of this year the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22 by citing that there was no legitimate basis to discriminate based on sexual preference and declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional. This is a direct assault on our sovereignty and authority as a democratic-republic.

So now we have Proposition 8 which is set to amend the California Constitution to clarify, again, that marriage is specifically between one man and one woman.

I agree with many of the arguments for Prop. 8, however I think many the arguments don’t go far enough to explain why we should keep marriage between man and woman. This is my attempt to explore my reasons for voting yes on 8.

What is the purpose of marriage? Why was the institution of marriage created so long ago? Is it simply a commitment between two people? If so why is it so important to make this commitment a public affair? What benefit to you or me is it that two random people decide to commit to each other? Why should a governmental body recognize and encourage two people to commit to each other?

In my opinion a man marring another man or a woman marring another woman is no more realistic than a boy joining the Girl Scouts or a girl joining the Boy Scouts.

Marriage is a social & cultural construct based on the realities of procreation. Marriage is not a natural institution, it is a cultural and societal one, and its sole purpose is to raise children in a stable controlled environment. No one other than the child’s parents can have more interest in a child’s well-being. After all the child is a biological extension of themselves.

Unlike other animals humans have a long development process, which is something we recognize as a society; depending on the state the legal age of an adult is between 18 and 21. Because of this fact society has realized that children need to be cared for for an extended period of time. So how does a culture encourage people to stay together for an extended period of time to raise their children? Simple, you encourage people to make public life-long commitments to each other and encourage them to have many kids. This is why we give married couples extra benefits over a single person and also give even more benefits to those that have kids.

Parents then teach their children how to be a productive and contributing member of society while discouraging their anti-societal impulses. It is in the interests of the parents and society to have well-adjusted offspring that integrate with society. This is a reality of human nature and our tribal instincts.

So if society holds people accountable to their marriage contracts how would two people make the decision that they could live bound to another for the rest of their life? Simple, the strongest of the human emotions, love. This is the only human characteristic that will allow two people to make a life-long commitment to each other through thick and thin, which in-turn is the most stable and nurturing environment to raise a child in.

This is where the gay marriage debate chimes in. Most people see marriage simply as an expression of love and commitment. Which is only partly true. The fulfillment and actualization of marriage only comes when a child enters into society as a productive and contributing member resulting from the love and commitment of the married couple. This is why marriage, as a cultural institution was created in the first place.

I don’t doubt that a committed gay couple could raise a well adjusted child. I don’t doubt that a gay couple could love each other enough to make a public commitment. However to call that commitment marriage is simply incorrect. If we can claim that two people whom love each other but are unable to procreate is the institution of marriage then what cultural institution do we have to encourage people to commit to each other for the purpose of procreating and producing contributing members of society?

As a society we all benefit, and have benefited from, the institution of marriage.

Most people have a hard time arguing the logical realities for marriage. However they argue the best they can, usually citing religion, because they understand the intrinsic value it has in our society. Most people understand this. However most people also understand that exclusion is hurtful and are conflicted between the the argument that non-gay marriage is exclusionary and that traditional marriage is beneficial to society.

Allowing gay marriage isn’t expanding the definition of marriage, but rather it is narrowing the definition of marriage. It is removing the assumption that the point of marriage is to procreate and rear well-adjusted children in favor of defining it solely as a relationship of commitment and love.

Also, a secondary argument to voting yes on proposition 8 is to send a message to the California Supreme Court that we will not let them usurp the authority of the people. They are there to protect our laws, not redefine them!

Update: I found another blog post that talks about why you should vote yes on prop 8. Here is a quote.

This argument against Proposition 8 not only mischaracterizes the issue, but does so in a way that is calculated to put supporters of traditional marriage on the defensive. The right to marry has never been an unfettered right. Even today, we maintain important restrictions on the right of individuals to marry. (For example, not permitting marriage between close relatives or prohibiting someone from being married to two people at the same time).

Update 2: Here is a website that details how gay marriage has affected Massachusetts since their courts legalized gay marriage back in 2003. Here is a quote from that page:

Homosexual “married” couples can now demand to be able to adopt children the same as normal couples. Catholic Charities decided to abandon handling adoptions rather submit to regulations requiring them to allow homosexuals to adopt the children in their care.

Update 3: An interesting article by Stanley Kurtz about how marriage is dying in some parts of the world and how gay marriage fits into this problem:

At issue in the gay-marriage controversy is nothing less than the existence of marriage itself. This point is vehemently denied by the proponents of gay marriage, who speak endlessly of marriage’s adaptability and “resilience.” But if there is one thing I think I’ve established in my recent writing on Scandinavia, it is that marriage can die — and is in fact dying — somewhere in the world. In fact, marriage is dying in the very the same place that first recognized gay marriage.

In setting up the institution of marriage, society offers special support and encouragement to the men and women who together make children. Because marriage is deeply implicated in the interests of children, it is a matter of public concern. Children are helpless. They depend upon adults. Over and above their parents, children depend upon society to create institutions that keep them from chaos. Children cannot articulate their needs. Children cannot vote. Yet children are society. They are us, and they are our future. That is why society has the right to give special support and encouragement to an institution that is necessary to the well being of children — even if that means special benefits for some, and not for others. The dependence intrinsic to human childhood is why unadulterated libertarianism can never work.

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27 thoughts on “Why I Voted ‘Yes’ On Prop. 8

  1. You state that the purpose of marriage is to have children and this is one of your arguments against gay marriage. Do you believe that infertile men and women should not be allowed to marry then? Or how about men and women who decide they don’t want kids?

    Interesting thoughts you have though. Definitely makes me think.

  2. You can argue corner-cases all day long but at the end of the day you still have the fact that only a man and a woman can procreate. Procreation and the development of well-adjusted children are the foundation of any human society.

  3. Does gay marriage prevent men and women from getting married and having kids? No way! You are a bigot, and you’re lying about your motives.

    By the way, millions of marriages between sterile heterosexual couples (or couples who will never choose to bear children) is not a “corner-case.” If you’re calling my great-uncle’s new marriage to the woman he now calls his wife a “corner-case” then I’d like to see you tell him that to his face!

  4. Orangehairboy, do you think it is OK for two grown, consenting, siblings that love each other to marry? Where is the line drawn?

    The point I am making is that the law cannot require people to have kids but it can and should encourage it.

    I also find your vulgarity disgusting.

  5. I enjoyed your arguments, especially the second one that discusses our standing up to the courts. The will of the majority must rule the day.

  6. So if the main purpose of a marriage is so two heterosexual people can join together and have children, then what about a couple where the man has had testicular cancer, and the woman has had a full hysterectomy, and thus neither are capable of producing offspring. Should we deny them the ability to marry simply because they can’t ‘actualize’ their marriage, as you describe it? Or what about heterosexual married couples who could have children but make the conscious decision not to have children… should we revoke their marriage licenses after a certain period of time?

    Looking at the issue with a skewed historical perspective may help you sleep at night, but it’s as silly as looking at other societal constructs in modern-day America with an arbitrary historical lens. For example, what if we altered the second amendment so that people could ‘bear arms’ but only as was the intent of the founding fathers — anyone who wants to can own a musket and all the musket balls and gunpowder they want. Every modern day weapon is henceforth illegal. Such a decision wouldn’t make much sense in our modern society. Neither does your logic.

    People who complain about courts ‘legislating from the bench’ have zero understanding of the constitutional role that the judicial branch plays in our government. Courts serve as part of the system of checks and balances that make this country great. They ensure that if a legislature oversteps its Constitutional bounds, they are reined in through judicial rule. Yes, in certain instances that means that judicial rulings nullify laws and create de facto new laws, but that is exactly as it is supposed to be. It is precisely what the founding fathers wanted to happen.

  7. Children have a right to a mom and a dad. The state of California allowing same-gender marriage may seem progressive to some– –but what it says to me is that the state of California sanctions a relationship that does not best serve children.

    While no heterosexual parents are perfect, and some situations are down right abusive and traumatic, the response is not to eliminate a child’s right to a mom and a dad. The response is to better educate, better encourage, better help parents be better.

    While a lesbian couple or a gay couple may provide a stable home, love, and support to a child. By definition, a same-gender marriage cannot provide them a mom and a dad. Every child has the right to a mom and a dad.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/feb/06021601.html

    Society should sacrifice for the health and well being of its children.

    This is why I am voting “yes” on prop 8 (on my absentee ballot).

    http://prop8discussion.wordpress.com/category/legislation-and-social-issues/

    yes on prop 8!

  8. Thanks for the thoughtful comments Lisa and ‘Prop.’

    Lisa,
    Try looking at the issue from a different perspective. It is in the interest of the state, and society, to encourage the population to sacrifice years of their lives to raise children. I’m sure you don’t disagree. If marriage isn’t about raising children then why have marriage at all? What benefit to society does a life-long commitment give? I know some people claim that it gives a venue for dealing with property rights and patient care rights, but that is bogus, we already can see that regular contract law or civil unions can accomplish the same things.

    If we assume that marriage is only about love and caring for each other then by default it removes the assumption from the cultural psyche that marriage is the best foundation for rearing children.

    If marriage is solely about love and commitment then why should we restrict it from inter-family relationships?

  9. I wouldn’t use the example of in-family marriages, considering there is a reason even obvious to those against prop 8. That reason being the possibility of retarded children.
    A more appropriate example I feel is bestiality- what reasons could there be against it that would not apply to gay marriage.

  10. mattlocke2,

    I don’t think bestiality is a good example… I think that inter family marriages best matches up. Because the argument the pro same-sex marriage crowds makes is that marriage isn’t about having children, it is about love and commitment. So if children aren’t apart of the equation we can talk about things like brother marrying brother, sister marrying sister, daughter marrying mom, etc. And if brother and sister want to marry… well we have abortion to take care of any slip ups… welcome to the new age of human morality!

  11. Pingback: Yes on 8 comments grow scathing and wracked with discrimination « Kevin Hunter

  12. Thanks for this. I just broke word to one of my closest friends here in San Francisco that I vote “yes” on 8, and I think our friendship might be dunzo. I however do believe in the power of a traditional marriage, and not want that to change. Gays should fight this issues from a different perspective, not try to reinvent the marriage “wheel”.

    Thanks!

  13. Thanks for your comment Jennifer.

    I think a lot of people like to discredit all traditions as simply old and out dated customs that no longer apply today, but I disagree with that. Homosexuality isn’t a new thing and this isn’t the first time in human history that it has been considered acceptable behavior. Traditional marriage has served an important role in developing our culture and morality. It has been a strong thread in the knitting of our societal fabric.

    While I don’t think we should condemn homosexuals I also don’t think we should just simply fork over important traditions under the guise of acceptance and tolerance.

  14. Important traditions? Is that a joke? The divorce rate is sky high, I doubt many people consider it an important tradition. Even if it is, what makes straight people better than gay people to take away their right to marry? Just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t mean you can dictate how other people lead their lives to which it doesnt affect you.

    Voting yes on 8 is rather evil and basically telling their kids their parents are second class citizens, to which is not simply untrue.

  15. Thanks for the comment fence girl.

    Yeah, the divorce rate is too high. I’d probably favor repealing the no-fault divorce laws too.

    So by your argument marriage, due to high divorce rates, isn’t an important tradition… if it isn’t that important then why are you so passionate about bestowing it on couples that it was never meant for?

  16. The rights under marriage are what is important, not so much the title. Judging by your inability to respond my argument, I think you know deep down you know it’s wrong to say people can’t get married just because you don’t like the idea. It doesn’t affect you that much for you or other ignorant people to have a say in what people do in their personal affairs. Relax! Gays are not going to have sex on your bibles or force you into a marriage.

    Oh, and gay marriage has been legal in Scandinavian countries for quite some time. Among many others. People have not been marrying their cousins or their pets as far as i know, so that argument is invalid.

  17. The rights under marriage can be identical to civil unions. It is the out come of marriage and civil unions that differ. So if the title isn’t important, like you say, then what does it matter? It is a silly argument because of course it matters.

    As a soon-to-be parent it does affect me very much. Marriage is not a personal commitment to another person. It is a public commitment that publicly binds two people together, like I’ve said in my original blog post that you fail to rebut. The only reason to make such a union a public matter is simple. It is in the interest of the public to see that people procreate in the best possible manner to further the longevity of a society.

    Further more, since marriage was started as a religious tradition, why is it so wrong for people to use religion as an argument?

    I mean come on. The only reason the state got into the marriage business in the first place was because, in its traditional form, it was beneficial to society. It is as simple as that.

    Also if you look back in history for the most part love was never a part of the equation. For many years and in many different cultures marriage’s were arranged. It is our contemporary western traditions that decided to put love as the initiator of that bond.

    Gay marriage, by circumstance, can only facilitate the creation of a bond and not the intended outcome.

  18. I still don’t see any good reason as to why gay people don’t deserve the right to marry just as much as straight people do. The fact that you think they should be treated as sub-human is discrimination.

    So basically you think that gay marriage is wrong because they can’t procreate. What about infertile couples or straight couples that don’t want to have kids at all? Oh, it’s okay because they’re straight, right? That’s discrimination and it’s fucked up, whether you think so or not. Look up discrimination and come back to me.

    You’re obviously basing this ALL on religious views and church and state should be separate. You don’t want other religions telling you what to believe if you don’t believe in it, so what gives you the right to do so?

  19. In my opinion the question that needs to be answered by the pro same-sex marriage crowd is “Is it in the interest of the State to encourage people to commit to each other for the purpose of procreating and subsequently rear their offspring.”

    If it is in the interest of the State then the next question is “Since it is decided to be beneficial to the State should it be encouraged?”

    If it should be encouraged then how do you encourage that specific behavior?

    This isn’t a new and progressive issue. These fundamental issues have been around since the dawn of humanity. And as history has shown, time-and-time again, cultural institutions based on the realities of human nature, not human desires, are the only constructs that lead to sustained societal order… which is where true human progress can reign.

    These old, hokey, religious, traditions aren’t some ancient baggage of a bygone era. They are the results hard learned lessons from the past.

    And you’re right it is discrimination and it is screwed up. As humans we’re a screwed up species, that’s the way it is. If we were perfect things would be a lot different. It is the same type of discrimination against people that fall in love with multiple partners, it is the same type of discrimination against people that fall in love with their siblings, it is the same type of discrimination as people that fall in love with underage people.

    There is a reason that we intentionally stigmatize certain behavior. When you think of a brother and sister getting married and then think to yourself ‘ick!’ that is a certain reaction that has been ingrained into our culture for a reason. You can go back in history and look at royalty in France where they thought it was an acceptable and preferred behavior to marry within the family(and I might add a completely natural behavior as is homosexuality and any other form of sexuality). It was to keep the royal blood line pure. It lead to generations of progressive deformities.

    So now, in the year 2008, homosexuality has become acceptable (again). We have become desensitized to this behavior. Nothing has really changed in human evolution except for the date. We are just as frail and lustful as we have always been. We are simply on the presepus of seeing, first hand, why we implement societal controls on our desires.

    I prefer to hope that we can actually accept and intellectualize these lessons from the past instead of simply looking out for only the desires of the here and now.

  20. I’d imagine straight people would have incentive to procreate because of tax breaks. If gay people don’t get the right to marry, it won’t magically make them enter into straight relationships to procreate. Some gay people get married and have kids, but if they didn’t , I’m sure society’s population would be fine. Aren’t we overpopulated anyway?
    What about old couples who want to get married and can’t have kids? Should they not marry either just because you think they shouldnt?

    Incest and the like is entirely different. What GENDER you choose to marry is a very small part of a person’s identity and to judge their whole personality by that is illogical.

  21. To be honest, I see all your justifications as hate in disguise. Is this really an outside issue or an internal issue trying to raise to the surface?

  22. Fence girl, I appreciate your comments but obviously I’m just too bigoted to see past my own hate. If you’re able to figure out where I went wrong I’d be grateful to you for setting me straight.

  23. I realize this is well past the fact but,

    Marriage is a socio-cultural phenomena. In its beginnings it was thought to be a way of organizing early day nomadic tribes and to prevent jealousy, and to promote child-rearing when survival of the tribe was a gigantic concern.

    Some of the earliest Christian roots (which lead to many prevailing marriage opinions in North America today) come from the early Jewish people who settled in Israel with the Canaanites (a fertility cult). In direct opposition with the fertility cult, the Hebrew religious leaders created much scripture in an attempt to prevail over the Canaanites.

    This is one of the reasons sex needed to be procreative. However, they took it further and promoted polygamy and concubinage to ensure that children were produced.

    Funny enough times change, the Jewish people outlasted the Canaanites and you rarely see concubinage in present day California anymore. Marriage has adapted to meet the needs of its time.

    The fact is today, if everyone goes out having 12 children to run the farm or to outlast the Canaanites we will deplete our planet to the point of our non-existence. Low and behold with industrialism and an era of technology we see the common family drop to ~2 kids or so. Which is great because to maintain one’s population in the present day we need roughly 1.9 children per couple.

    So as marriage and the family seem to so naturally mirror one’s environments and pressing needs as they relate to survival, it’s not surprising that it will continue to change in the future.

    With an outstanding number of children in orphanages and those up for adoption and medical technology that can create children without sex plus the CONSTANT data supporting the normal adjustment of a child with homosexual parents it makes sense that our concept of marriage will be one that changes to incorporate gay marriage, whether you believe it’s an act of love or an act of procreation.

    The thing is, it already has taken place is other places, notably Canada and many countries in Western Europe and is even officially recognized in the U.S. in some states although not performed.

    The obvious debate to your opinion, is what about non-procreative heterosexual couples, but more importantly, you have seemed to hidden an anti-gay argument in guise of pseudo-objectiveness and good writing. Just because you argue with a rational tone doesn’t mean you don’t carry irrational prejudice. Your logic internally contradicts itself and doesn’t prove a point but rather a personal preference against homosexual marriage.

    The sad thing is this happened in what is considered one of the more progressive states in the country. Again the slim majority of idiots has projected values of the U.S., this time California, to the rest of the world even though a large fraction of Americans don’t follow with the idea that we’re a repressed group of people roughly 10-20 years behind other industrialized countries in our socio-cultural practices.

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