May 28, 2008

Gay Marriage in California

I must admit I have conflicting viewpoints over the California Supreme Court's recent decision allowing for gay marriage in the Golden State. And it's not some sort of moral opposition to the concept of gay marriage....part of me harkens to the old line that I'm for gay marriage because gay men should be miserable like the rest of us. Seriously, though I'm not one of these people who has a reflexive negative view on the topic.

My split personality on this comes out of my own libertarian point of view. On one hand, if it doesn't cost me money, hurt me or my family or infringe on me....have it. On the other hand, the voters in CA via referendum voted to ban gay marriage in a fair election and the almighty judges in black who always think they are so much smarter than everyone else overturned the will of the voters.

Hmmm, quite the conundrum. After all, no one wants tyranny by the majority and hence referendums should not be used to take rights away from any group in particular. However, gay marriage is a legitimate open issue and cleary CA voters spoke for what they wanted. Where is the appreciation on the courts behalf for the will of the people.

OK, folks. I am officially conflicted on this. Which side is anti-liberty here?


Larry Castellani said...

Hobbes is a ….gasp….Libertarian?... The horror, the horror! Or, just at times lapses into a Libertarian perspective? A closet Libertarian? Come clean Hobbes! Is Hobbes married to a Libertarian? Should Libertarians be allowed to marry? I digress.

My position is that Hobbes' "conundrum" is due to a structural problem. That is, the state structures that constitute the country, especially the size of California, are too big to deal with internal conflicts between communities or collective identities. And, too small to deal with external conflicts with the Nation.

California doesn’t have a collective identity and it’s not a community. So a democratic referendum regarding fundamental values is a pseudo-solution. Such rights as marriage are really socially rights granted politically, even if some do exploit the notion of God to justify their preferred position on rights. Rights aren’t natural.

So short of structural change of the constitution of the “state” with respect to communities and their confederated relations, the problem isn’t solvable. For example, if San Francisco had the same “referendum” it would pass. If Orange County had it, it wouldn’t pass. Such rights as gay marriage are fundamental right that a given population with a collective identity, or, a community can declare and fight for politically. If it wins, it wins the right. If it loses, it’s back to the toilet stalls and closets, so to speak. A tapestry of such rights forms the basis of community.

Such rights aren’t determinable nor justifiable purely rationally. If a referendum gives California the right to suppress the goings on in San Francisco, then such democracy becomes tyrannical. But if the communities of Cal. were confederated, then San Fran could have its marriages as a community right and still be a part of the “common wealth” of confederated California communities. After all Orange County and San Fran are two different “worlds” for all practical purposes of ordinary everyday living together.

The Court’s legal-rationalistic determination based in Liberal universal human rights ideology is equally tyrannical. … And by the way, no, I’m not a Libertarian.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

Hobbes, falsely held beliefs stemming from religion and propaganda are a danger to ALL people; particularly to those people perceived as minorities.

The United States, along with numerous individual states, are being "called out" for failing to treat and recognize ALL of its citizens equally.

I am glad therefore that there is at least one group of common sense people (the CA "judges in black") who have recognized the rights of "the people" over "the will of the people."

Thanks for posting this story!

Anonymous said...

Hobbes, you seem to be getting more and more reasonable every day. If you truly are finding a libertarian streak, you'll know that Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Toqueville ... even Hobbes warned of the tyranny of the majority.

Anonymous said...

God I’m so sick of the race and the minority factor being thrown into everything. What is the perfect specimen: 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, blond wavy hair, blue eyes 20/20 vision, bench press 250 pounds run the 4 minute mile. I would say the perfect being is the minority. My mother taught me one very important rule “treat others the way you want to be treated”. I could care less what they gnarl on between the sheet as long as they treat me respectfully I will give the same in return. Nice post Hobbes, thanks.

Anonymous said...


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Later, a man in a pickup drove by the man’s home slowly and shouted profanities, according to police.

“I hear you’ve got a problem with the ice cream man,” the driver said. “Well I’m the (expletive) ice cream man.”

The driver then told the resident he’d show him noise and proceeded to drive down the street honking his horn repeatedly before leaving. The resident didn’t get a look at the truck’s license plate, but detectives are following up on the case.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Nice take on this Hobbes. I feel much the same way. Many of us are tired of courts imposing their view of the world on the rest of us. However, if not for certain court rulings, we'd still have a segregated country.

I do like Larry's take on communities deciding for themselves what type of culture they want. After all, what's wrong with self-determination.

However, if a bunch of wackos say in Texas decided that their town wouldn't allow Catholics, I'd be pretty pissed off even if I had no intention of visiting there.

Anonymous said...

If you think that the issue doesn't affect you, think again. The tax laws, insurance regulations and many other things which govern our society were developed in an environment of "traditional" unions. There will be economic impact and it will affect you. Right or wrong is another issue but the result will be real when you pay yuor bills.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Considering most governments and companies now offer domestic partner benefits, how are costs affected? Everyone knows there is a marriage penalty in the tax code so actually gay couples would be paying more. The last anonymous post seems like a red herring to me.

Anonymous said...

If you don't believe in gay marriages and just want to do the deed, do like others become priests. How’s that for the greater than thou group.

Anonymous said...

Let's not lose sight of te post. Was the CA court right to overule a duly passed referendum by voters and implement their own point of view?

It smacks of elitism. Plus, if gay marriages are allowed...and I'm not against them...then who are we to tell consenting mormons that you can't have more than one wife?

Anonymous said...


Since you assert that most companies and governments already offer domestic partner benefits, please tell us which ones. My city government does not, my county government does not and my state government does not. But when they do, assuming you pay taxes, you will be paying for this benefit.

Anonymous said...

But doesn't this issue speak to the reason as to why it is important that we NOT use a popular vote. Do we really know what you want? Or do we only know what we want? Looking back in time, the first example I can think of is the Civil Rights Movement. Making it illegal for a Black & White American to marry? This is our very problem... we "think" we know what's best for everyone else when in reality, we can't even take care of ourselves. Who gives a crap if 2 guys or gals want to marry. How is this impacting my marriage? It's not.

Anonymous said...

O but Hobbes, it does hurt your family.

Rhonda, judges don't make law, but these judges think they can. The entire state voted against gay marriage (speaking of self-determination). The judges created law that wasn't in the constitution. Regardless of your feelings, that is wrong.

Stop trying to be P.C. and saying, "oh, they can do as they please, there are no effects". There are effects, it is wrong, it is immoral, and I won't endorse that behavior. Read the Bible people, then act upon it. Homosexuality is an abomination. LEVITICUS 18:22

As for this argument that Adam and Steve is just as fine as Adam and Eve, well how about Adam and Eve and Tina? Or Adam and Fido? Why not right? Doesn't effect me? Wake up people.

Larry Castellani said...

Would someone please extend the latter Bible-thumping Anon an invitation to the 21st century. I sure hope this Anon doesn't take Leviticus 20:13 equally literally.

We need to continue to make the distinction not only between church and state but also between church and culture. Why do these religious triumphalist theocrats continue to insist that the constitution permits the subordination of our rights to self-determination to Christianist cultural agendas? This is the most insidious form of authoritarianism imaginable? Yet they can't see it. Truly amazing!

Anon, you need to take my philosophy of religion course and apprise yourself of other ways of understanding Christianity besides your truly fascistic/literalist version of it. Consider the possibility that literalism is only one kind of interpretation and it does not equate with the "the only correct interpretation." Consider that your arrogance in its "righteousness" is the very self-righteousness that Jesus condemned.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

anon - thank you for your opinion. I would direct you to larry castellani's posts - it's unfortunate that false religious doctrine and beliefs continue to facilitate intolerance toward many "perceived" minority groups.

I'm not sure if the "stop trying to be "P.C." comment was also directed my way (and I am less sure what P.C. stands for here) but the judges did not make new law. They, unlike some (not the entire state) of the residents of California, understand the "RIGHTS of THE PEOPLE" versus the WILL of "THE PEOPLE."

Also, if Federal and State laws (governments) do not see fit to treat its citizens equally, International law will prevail.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so lets say we extend the 'rights of people' to include homo marriage. Then, lets say I come up and want to have a right to murder my unborn child, still ok? How about my one year old child? How about extending my rights to marry my child? Marry my mother? Why not? It's MY RIGHT!?

My point is that there are absolutes in this world and absolute rights and wrongs. You are on a slippery slope when you try to define marriage as something other than that between a man and a woman.

Castellani, you're foolish.
There is no separation between church and state. I'm allowed to bring my beliefs to the table, religious or not, regardless. Jump on board the secular progressive bandwagon some more.
And if by 'taking your class of philosophy', you mean bending the Bible as you see fit, save that for yourself. Don't worry about self righteousness Mr. 'Take my class in philo', I'm just obeying Jesus' word, not trying to make my own that fits 'close-enough'.
If speaking aobut what the Bible says makes me a 'bible thumper' in ur mind, you must have been a child of the 70s.
Your first sentence summed your whole view up: send me an invitation to the 21st century. Meaning that the view of marriage has changed. Well sorry larry, some things dont change. What is right is still right, what is wrong is stil wrong. Gay marriage is still wrong, Bible doesn't change.

Rhonda, you must not understand international law very well to think that some int'l ct like the ICJ has some sort of jurisdiction to find gay marriage a fundamental right in the US.
And I agree that its unfortunate that false religious doctrine, such as finding any authority for defining marriage as anything but a union between a man and a woman, finds its way into our society. It's almost like the will of a few (homos and secular progressives) is being imposed on the majority.

and FYI, P.C. stands for Politically Correct.

Anonymous said...

rhonda, what is gender identification? you are one gender or another, period. No identification needed. You have one set of parts or another. Period. A+B, no c, no d
Gender expression? Sexual orientation?

your son has a right to do as he wishes in his bedroom, but society has no obligation to recognize his homo marriage.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

"Rhonda, what is gender identification?"

Anon - You can learn about gender identification here:

You, as an individual, may choose not to condone same-sex marriage based upon what I believe to be falsely held religious beliefs. Government however must sanction same-sex marriage. Its failure to do so is an admission that it, in fact, is not treating its citizens equally, and clearly for the reason of religious doctrine, interpretation, and beliefs, which have no place in law for the reason that it excludes and is, again in fact, discrimination.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I hope the link provided answers your questions about gender identification.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

"Ok, so let[']s say we extend the 'rights of people'...

Anon - It appears that you have confused the International Center for Transitional Justice with the UNITED NATIONS. The authority in Human Rights is the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. You can view it here:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you find the link provided will increase your understanding of Human Rights.

Anonymous said...

"Its failure to do so is an admission that it, in fact, is not treating its citizens equally, and clearly for the reason of religious doctrine, interpretation, and beliefs, which have no place in law for the reason that it excludes and is, again in fact, discrimination."

It seems as though you misinterpret the law. Citizens don't have to be treated equally. Equality doesn't exist in nature and to try and force equality on society results in insane infringement on people's rights. Criminals are not treated the same (they have their rights taken away when they commit crimes), women are not treated the same (time off from work for bearing children), and homosexuals shouldn't be treated the same with regards to marriage. That's it, I'm not saying take away their cars, or homes, just marriage, and for good cause.

Religious beliefs have as much of a place in law and government as your individual opinion does because people bring their religious views with them to the table. To try and exclude religious beliefs is a denial of MY RIGHTS. Familiar argument?

You have so much canned responses that you make very little sense. Learn the meaning of the word condone before you try to use it and try to learn the consequences of what you call for before you advocate. Argue with less emotion about the fact that some people don't want homosexuals to marry and hurt society in turn.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

anon - thank you for your opinion.
I would direct you to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights link in my previous post. I would also direct you to, in this case, the United State's Constitution and New York State Constitution - I trust you can locate them without my providing a link. Please let me know if you discover wording that says "Citizens don't have to be treated equally." Please provide a link as well if discovered.

Too, please be very clear that I advocate for equal treatment and protection, of ALL citizens, pursuant to law. That is, rule of law, not rule of man. I am sure however that you can understand here my focus - the human and civil rights of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, trans-sexual children, youth, and adults in society whose very "humaness" alone guarantees them equal treatment.

Thanks again for your opinion!

Anonymous said...

precisely, you won't find law mandating unequal nor equal laws for all people. Mandating unequal treating would be superfluous and it is already understood that laws aren't equal for all people. What you won't find either

Universal Declaration on Human Rights: I could cite other documents that state the exact contrary to this, such as the Bible. You can believe your man-made document, but know that man can make up any rule of law he wants, even slavery, but the absolute higher law is what always controls in the end. Citing a bias source to solely prove your point doesn't fly.
And don't mention religion again and claim that it's bias because we have been and still are an overwhelmingly Christian nation and world, so Christianity will be the controlling law of the land.

This is my last post, despite you continuing to thank me for my opinion, because you are going to continue to believe what makes you feel good, not what is truly right and in the best interest of society and families. Homosexuality is unnatural and to try and force society to recognize the contrary and in fact endorse it via the court system of all places is wrong.

Rhonda J Mangus said...

anon - "This is my last post,...". Sorry to learn that you are no longer posting to the blog. Best of luck, Rhonda