It seems to me that the people claiming that they are "protecting" marriage are not interested in protecting marriage at all. They want to destroy existing marriages between loving couples in order to meet their own narrow definitions of what is "right." And I wouldn't let the relatively simple wording of Prop 8 as it made it to the ballot fool you. The people who push things like this really want to also decide "man" and "woman" to fit their narrow interpretation as well. Look at one of the other versions of this proposal that failed to qualify, which includes this:
A man is an adult male human being who possesses at least one inherited Y chromosome, and a woman is an adult female human being who does not possess an inherited Y chromosome.I have no doubt that the so-called "protect marriage" people would really like to have this, or something equally restrictive, as part of the state constitution. (I should hope that most of the people reading this are aware of the hazards of any hard-and-fast definition of "man" and "woman.") I suspect that if the "protect marriage" scare-mongers get their way on what's pending, they'll try to push harder on things like this, so that only people that meet their narrow definitions would be allowed to marry and so that people would be forced to fit into particular molds of gender-specific behavior.
If marriage was solely a matter of religion, I wouldn't feel so strongly about Prop 8. But the state gives civil sanction to marriage as a matter of public policy, and married people have "special rights" (a phrase normally used by the people pushing Prop 8, so I take special pleasure in throwing it back in their faces) over unmarried people. That being the case, I don't see why some people should qualify for those rights while others do not, simply because of who they love.
There are those who claim that existing civil-partnership laws gave same-sex couples the same rights under a different name. For them I would point to the discredited doctrine of "separate but equal" regarding race, and suggest that the same reasoning applies to sexual orientation. And I certainly hope that nobody still thinks that "separate but equal" ever was actually equal. I'd like to believe that we've progressed beyond that.
For those who claim that the California Supreme Court were "activist judges" who "overturned the will of the people," I would point out that sometimes laws are wrong and it is the job of the judiciary to overturn such laws. And "separate but equal" used to be the law of the land in this country until the same courts that once said it was permitted in Plessy v. Ferguson changed their mind in Brown v. Board of Education and other rulings. Courts are allowed to change their minds; it's part of why we have them. And the people who rail against "activist judges" only do so when it's their side that lost the ruling. (That goes both ways, I'll admit, just like political parties always rediscover states' rights when they lose control of the federal government.)
Conditions that made only opposite-sex weddings proper in the past have changed, and it's not time to go backwards. Yes, I know that most other states still have those limitations. I think those limitations are wrong there as well, and that we'll see many of them -- maybe someday all of them -- catch up with the 21st century eventually. That's assuming we don't fall back into a theocratic, anti-rational New Dark Age as it appears a lot of people want to have happen. I'm trying to be optimistic about our future chances.
The hate-mongers have been tossing out ads that include lies about what would happen if existing law, as interpreted by our courts, is allowed to stand. Well, first, none of the things they're saying has happened so far. Same-sex marriage is already legal now, and there is no sign of churches having their tax exemptions challenged because of it, or any of the other things they say would happen. (Pulling churches' tax exemptions because they specifically advocate for candidates is a different matter and has nothing to do with this discussion.) And I don't expect those things to happen, either.
Political speech is free in this country, but the airtime to circulate such speech is not. The No on 8 campaign has prepared an ad in response to the lies. Ads and airtime cost money. You can contribute to the No on 8 campaign (if you're allowed to by law) and watch the video of their new commercial here
I'll tell you how strongly I feel about this: If you told me that the only way for Prop 8 to fail would be for Prop 1A (California High-Speed Rail) would be to fail as well, I'd agree to the bargain.