It did not sink in until I read a sentence in the LA Times story this morning on this issue that the judge in this case was gay (homosexual) and a Republican appointee. I had heard a reference to his gayness yesterday on TV but it flew right past me. It seems as though that would make him biased, but then again, if he were straight, one could say he was biased the other way. And a Republican appointee — that’s ironic, seeing as how so much of the opposition in pro-gay issues often comes from the Republican right. But another story I read referred to President Obama (a Democrat) saying during his bid for office that he was against gay marriage, although he lauds civil rights for gays, nonetheless (wants it both ways).
The most interesting part to me of the federal court ruling quashing the California Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was the part on social change.
Federal District Court judge Vaughn R. Walker in San Francisco held not only that the same-sex marriage ban violated due process and equal protection clauses in the U.S. Constitution but that the exclusion of same-sex couples from conventional marriage was out of date.
He wrote in part:
“… The exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
If you are reading this on my blog site then you should be able to read my initial reaction to the ruling by scrolling down below this post.
The judge issued a stay that, as I understand, means that gay couples still may not be able to go out and get married just yet.
This issue is headed eventually to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some, including me, in the past may have thought offering homosexuals civil unions, as opposed to regular marriage, would suffice, but from what I have read those two contractual arrangements are not equal and are not equally recognized in all states and jurisdictions, and if they were the same there would be no reason to have two designations — think about it. The whole thing is really a question of changing social values, and just as importantly, a more modern understanding of human biology and sexuality. At one time I thought, and I think I suggested, that maybe the government should get out of the marriage business and only perform civil unions which everyone who is joined together would get for legal protection and those who wanted their union sanctified by the church would have separate weddings, calling that marriage. But then there would be confusion because of the history that has already taken place. Sometimes we have to accept change. And while I am not religious in the conventional sense, I do believe in God or a higher power and I don’t know what you can make of the teachings of the Bible in things such as the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, but the sins there were not just homosexuality (whoops, I guess the Bible does see that as a sin, nonetheless), as I recall.
I was always taught that the word gender actually refers to masculine and feminine in grammatical terms not in human sexual terms. But modern usage has seen gender to become essentially synonymous with sexual designation in human terms and my American Heritage College dictionary notes this, although it has some extra details and cautions that the issue has not been resolved by all word experts.
And back to the same-sex ruling. I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the government decreeing a change in social mores, but I can also see the rights to equal protection and due process and I think it’s obvious homosexuality is not a choice — and for the benefit of at least one reader I add that people as far as I can see do not choose to be homosexual, rather they are born with that trait (and there may be degrees — don’t know).