Massachusetts voters have had no opportunity to express their approval or dissent respecting same-gender marriages. The Massachusetts Supreme Court required same sex marriage in the Commonwealth in lieu of the following interpretation of the state constitution: "Barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."
Since the same constitution prohibits ballot initiatives which contradict it, Massachusetts voters, unlike those in , for example, California, cannot vote to overturn the Supreme Court's interpretation thereof. Hence, notwithstanding that Massachusetts voters have passed petitions seeking to address the legitimacy of same-gender marriage by ballot, this has been prohibited.
Massachusetts voters' "perspective" on same-gender marriage remains unknown, notwithstanding the attempt at clairvoyance by Charles Jackson of Atlanta.
Moreover, since California civil unions provide the precise same civil rights as California civil marriage, the issue before California voters was not the civil rights of same-gender couples as Neighbor House's Jacobsen implies but the granting of the semantic, and so social/religious, approbation, normalization and sanction of same-sex unions as marriages.
There is no civil rights benefit in the transition of a California civil union to the designation of civil marriage, only a financial benefit insofar as civil union fiscal benefits are subject to federal taxation.
As racism legally sanctions the restricting or rescinding of civil rights for a particular race but Proposition 8 does not restrict or rescind civil rights for same-gender couples or, more broadly, homosexuals, support of Proposition 8 cannot be equated with racism, without culpable diminution of racism's civil and moral violations. Respect for civil justice requires distinguishing the tragic trespass of civil rights from the mere refusal to categorize as a "marriage" the full civil rights afforded in civil unions.
To equate a mild pecuniary penalty with racism's travesty of social implosion is to invite the latter, as the rising bigotry against religiously motivated voters portends.
Boston , MA
Nov 15 2008 - 12:00am