Thursday, November 6, 2008

Proposition 8

I haven't said much about the success of Proposition 8 in California, mostly because I haven't wanted to spoil the buzz of the Obama election. However, I do now want to give my opinion on the matter.

Personally, I find it chilling and frightening that under the statutes governing the California ballot initiative process, a small group of motivated citizens can strip constitutionally guaranteed rights that are enjoyed by another group of citizens. That this can be done by a simple majority vote borders on the criminal. I have long been weary of these sorts of "direct democracy" mechanisms aimed at bypassing professional legislators. It gives a tremendous amount of power to wealthy individuals and organizations that pay to gather signatures and spend millions of dollars on misleading advertisements promoting their measure and demonizing opponents. Presumably we elect legislators to do this sort of work for us because the average citizen has neither the time nor inclination to adequately study up on proposed statutes and carefully consider all their ramifications. It is bad enough when ballot measures lead to tax policies that cripple the state's educational system, but when such measures are used to forcibly impose second-class citizenship upon a group of people, they become unconscionable instruments of oppression, facilitating the tyranny of the majority in just the fashion that constitutions with their 2/3 vote amendment processes were meant to guard against.

In the meantime, enjoy this ad:


Unknown said...

i live in california, and next election cycle i would like to get a proposition on the ballot that will TRULY preserve the sanctity of traditional marriage - by making divorce illegal. the mormons would probably pony up for that one too, right?

Anonymous said...

Indeed a buzz buster. The sad reality is that Afro-americans voted in overwhelming numbers in favor of Prop 8 (70%). Perhaps, with Obama's leadership, we should now have a conversation about the homophobia of the black church, while at the same time we protest the Church of Later Day Saints I(Mormons) bankrolling 80% of the funding for support of Prop 8. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people have always been on the front lines fighting racial discrimination in American. It's high time that our Afroamerican brothers and sisters return the favor.