Wednesday, September 07, 2005

California: Gays Welcome

California is, arguably, this nation's most left-leaning state. It should come as no surprise then that the state has passed a bill giving the rubber stamp to gay marriage. The bill awaits the approval of Governor Schwarzenegger, who, if memory serves me correctly, said he will sign it.

The California Legislature on Tuesday became the first legislative body in the country to approve same-sex marriages, as gay-rights advocates overcame two earlier defeats in the Assembly.

The 41-35 vote sends the bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

My stance on gay marriage is well known. As a practicing Catholic, I find the prospect of homosexual intercourse to be morally repugnant. Yet, as an amateur student of our wonderful constitution, I am quietly applauding this decision. For just as surely as this is a loss for traditional marriage, it is a victory for state's rights.

I firmly believe that the 10th amendment is the most underrated of all the brilliant restrictions placed on the federal government by our founding fathers. This may come as a surprise to folks who have only known a post-Warren supreme court, but once the law of the land was dictated by legislatures. Actually, a very long time ago, it was dictated by the states. The important thing is that both dictations stem from the people, the "consent of the governed" if you will.

Moral decisions were supposed to be left to the states precisely because moral issues are divisive. Reasonable people are not going to see eye-to-eye on abortion and gay marriage because the issues have a moral basis. Rather than allow several men and women in robes to circumvent the will of the people--and tick off half the population--the people should be able to decide which moral laws should govern them.

Detractors complain that we will have different standards in different states. Precisely. Democracy depends on the ability of patrons to vote with their feet. That is one of the principles which this nation is founded on. Since government tends to become corrupt, the citizen's ability to move to a less repressive state regulates the power of the bureaucracy.

Someone invariably tells me that then people will simply move to get around the laws. And what is so wrong with that? A great many Minnesotans drive to Wisconsin to buy fireworks. Legally speaking, an abortion is simply an economic service, no different from the economic good that is purchasing fireworks, though I wager fireworks are a bit more fun.

Gay marriage then, does not quite fit into this analogy. Homosexuals will simply have to stay in those states which allow members of the same sex to marry. It is ture that this will cause a few conflicts between states. This will give the supreme court something to do, since a return to state's rights will leave are justices quite bored.

Surely the small inconveniences that will have to be worked out are a small price to pay for adhering to the bill of rights. The alternative is a federal standard that is either deemed homophobic or decadent. I do not care to participate in a civil war--even if only a cold one--over something that is so trite a matter.

One need look no further than Roe v. Wade to see what happens when a government mixes moral standards and legalese. If mixing relgion with politics is problematic--and at a federal level it assuredly is--mixing principles antithetical to the religious precepts of a majority of the citizens with politics is equally undesirable. No matter who "wins" on the gay marriage debate, there are going to be some folks who are just plain steamed.

When the federal government plays moral arbiter, it takes away the citizen's greatest power: the ability to vote with one's feet. We would not tolerate having to purchase all of our groceries from one store. Why do we react with indifference when the feds set up one standard of rules for everyone to play by?

It is true that I wish the legislature in California would have voted the other way on this one. Hopefully, the other states will not follow suit. Of course some states will vote against and others in favor; such is the nature of the 10th amendment. This being said, I can manage a smile knowing that those dead white guys who set up this wonderful experiment are way more clever than we ever give them credit for. The system does work.

Now if we would only listen to those fellows more often we may just manage to save this republic from doom. Preservation. Now that is something that transcends moral viewpoints.

2 comments:

Regular Ron said...

My thing with Gay "marrige" is, they really aren't getting married. As a Catholic, marrige is a sacroment, not a "right",and it is done infront of the eyes of God. So what they are doing is getting a civil union, because they are going infront of a judge. And there's nothing wrong with that in my eyes.

When the Catholic church opens it's doors to this. Then I will be pissing and moaning about it. Untill then....Who cares

RR

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I don't think it's a quite "who cares" but it's not an issue that really fires me up. Acceptance of homosexual behaviour is a bad idea for society, but that is the direction we are heading. A rubber stamp by the government isn't good, but it's hardly the end of the world.

And don't worry about the Catholic Church betraying Christ's teaching. As long as we keep folks like Benedict in charge we'll stay on the straight and narrow.