Ban Divorce to Protect Marriage in California?
These are the thoughts of Sacramento man John Marcotte. He is collecting signatures to place a new piece of legislation on the 2010 ballot for the people of California to decide on. He wants to make it illegal to divorce in California. Read his petition here.
Why? He contends that this is a natural extension of what religious conservatives did when they voted “Yes” on a ballot measure to ban gay marriage so that they could “protect traditional marriage”.
From John Marcotte’s Rescue Marriage website, here’s the statement announcing the new ballot measure:
“I loved Proposition 8, but felt it did not go far enough. So fresh from the office of our legal counsel, I present the 2010 California Protection of Marriage Act.
SECTION 1. Title. This act shall be known as the “2010 California Marriage Protection Act.”
SECTION 2. Section 7.6 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
No party to any marriage shall be restored to the state of an unmarried person during the lifetime of the other party unless the marriage is void or voidable, as set forth in Part 2 of Division 6 of the Family Code.”
Marcotte has just launched his first couple of PSAs on the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act. Here they are:
A Few Choice Quotes From the PSAs:
“My kids are being taught in school that divorce is all right.”
“You said ‘Till death do us part’. You’re not dead yet.”
“Hell is eternal, just like your marriage is supposed to be.”
“If we allow anyone to get divorced, before you know it, people will be divorcing their dogs.”
Now, although he’ll deny this, it just might be that Marcotte is joking. Marcotte, head of entertainment site BadMouth.net, famously dressed a Sacramento statue of a giant human head in a Groucho Marx mustache and glasses back in 2007. Then again he might not be. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
But, Marcotte might be using satire to illustrate the point that the 2008 California Protection of Marriage Amendment, more commonly known as Proposition 8, didn’t really protect traditional marriage at all, and its real emphasis was as a tool of anti-gay feeling. After all, divorce ends marriages. Same-sex marriages are just that– more marriages. This is a point that a federal Judge touched on this week. More on that below.
However, Protect Marriage, the “Yes on Prop. 8″ team, remained adamant that all they wanted with Proposition 8 was to preserve traditional marriage. From the Protect Marriage website:
“Proposition 8 is NOT an attack on gay couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under California’s domestic partner law. California law already grants domestic partners all the rights that a state can grant to a married couple. Gays have a right to their private lives, but not to change the definition of marriage for everyone else.” (Emphasis theirs, not mine).
It might be worthy of note that on the same page, they also use that old chestnut:
“Passing Proposition 8 protects our children…”
California’s LGBTs might want to preserve their right to a divorce when they eventually manage to overturn Proposition 8. It would be interesting to see if both petitions, the ban on divorce and a Prop. 8 repeal, reach the ballot for 2010. Nevertheless, the push to reclaim same-sex marriage rights in California was given a significant boost this week when a federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8.
The federal lawsuit was filed in May by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who argued for opposite sides in the Bush v. Gore contested presidential election of 2000. The two believe that in denying same-sex couples the right to marry and restricting them to domestic partnerships, Proposition 8 is a violation of the 14th Amendment.
Protect Marriage sort to bar this federal lawsuit by establishing that the state had a legitimate interest in preserving Proposition 8 as a means of promoting the so-called “traditional” family unit.
San Francisco Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker decided on Wednesday to dismiss that challenge, allowing those who believe Prop. 8 to be unconstitutional to have their day in court.
In so doing, Judge Vaughn refused the assertion made by the Protect Marriage team that the Supreme Court had already answered the question of constitutionality in their ruling made in May of this year.
Vaugn concluded that the federal lawsuit before him examined the constitutionality of Prop. 8 against the equal protections clause of the 14th Amendment, whereas the Supreme Court’s ruling, while it did mention equal protections, was largely concerned with if Prop. 8 was a viable amendment or an illegal revision to the California Constitution (the voter majority can place an amendment on the ballot and enact it by a majority vote, but a revision requires a majority vote from the Legislature before it can be put on the ballot in the first place).
Judge Vaughn also expressed a desire to debate whether sexual orientation is a fixed or immutable characteristic, and also if homosexuals are a politically powerful group. If Vaughn does so, this would be one of the first cases to tackle these issues in depth.
He also repeated an order the court had made at the beginning of the month for Protect Marriage to turn over their campaign strategy documents so that the court could assess whether or not their campaign was run in a way designed to appeal to anti-gay bias. Protect Marriage are challenging that order.
The case is set to go ahead Jan. 11, 2010, however the challenge put forward by the Protect Marriage group may stall proceedings.
During this week’s hearing the attorney defending Proposition 8, Charles Cooper, repeatedly said that Prop. 8 was necessary to protect “natural procreative relationships of opposite sex couples” for the next generation, and therein that it was in the state’s best interest to back Proposition 8.
Judge Vaughn asked Cooper how allowing gay marriages damaged heterosexual marriage. Cooper’s answer was:
“I don’t know.”
Cooper went on to say that he did not have the facts to hand. Judge Vaughn made it clear that Cooper and the “Yes on Prop. 8″ team would have to produce concrete evidence of harm come the court case.
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