Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CA: NY Times has editorial on Proposition 8


On Monday Sept 29, The New York Times had four editorials, none of them directly about the Bailout Controversy. The third editorial was called “Preserving California’s Constitution,” with link here.

The editorial refers to Proposition 8 on the ballot in California in the Nov. 4 general election, trying to implement a constitutional amendment overturning the California Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. The editorial notes that governor and former movie star Arnold Schwazenegger opposes the amendment. The Times writes “it is our fervent hope that Californians will reject the mean-spirited attempt to embed second-class treatment of one group of citizens in the State Constitution” and goes on to mention equal protection of the laws.

The editorial mentions the “familiar argument that same-sex marriage undercuts marriage between men and women” and notes that despite the legal status of gay marriage in California now, (traditional) “marriage remains intact.”

The elevator speech version of the “argument” is familiar. But what it really means is that traditional marriage is predicated on the idea to that a married couple has the power socialize people within the family, not only as children but as adults, towards meeting the emotional and sometimes financial needs of other financial members. Married people can have children and sometimes expect others to help raise their children, and can now (as is becoming apparent with the growing eldercare crisis and the likely enforcement of filial responsibility laws in the future) obligate adult children to take care of them. Married people with children expect preferential treatment in the workplace, at the expense of the childless. The financial and emotional “perks” of marriage are part of what makes it rewarding enough to remain not only faithful but “active” when the couple itself faces hardship. In that sense, marriage law today in most states makes second-class citizens out of the unmarried, as a potential resource available for expropriation. That is what the California State Supreme Court meant. Does anyone get this?

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