07 November 2008

Proposition 8 and Tyranny of the Tiny Minority

One might think that voters would have solid ground on which to amend their own state’s constitution. Granted, all state constitutions must fall within the bounds of the US Constitution, there still is a lot of wiggle room for variation between the states. Over the course of time, constitutions are bound to be amended.

This past Tuesday, Californians voted to amend the state constitution so “that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California (according to the Sec. of State of California website). It would not negate any legal rights in civil unions, which can be same-sex. It would, in its most basic sense, take a title away from same-sex couples. They could not, in the eyes of the state, marry.

5,376,454 Californians voted in favor of Proposition 8. 4,870,010 voted against it. That’s over 10 million people who made their voices heard. It marks the second time that a clear majority has voted to ban marriage between same-sex couples in California in less than a decade. One might think that would be the end of the story for a while, at least until the next election cycle.

But instead, hundreds turned out in protests in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I say hundreds, because 2,500 (from estimates here and here) don’t equate to “thousands” in my eyes. They’ve demanded “the Freedom to Marry”. (Capitalization in the original.) That would be an estimated 0.0244% of the total voters who have protested (as of the morning of 6 November). Will that miniscule, vocal minority rule the day?

If the ACLU and lawyers from both Los Angeles and San Francisco have their way, it will. They’ve asked the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. If the Court attempts to rescind Proposition 8, they have effectively placed the power to amend the state’s constitution in the hands of less than 3 hundredths of one percent of the population who were able to and chose to vote on the matter.

For those who may question the civility of taking away a title – marriage – from a certain group of people – namely those same-sex couples who want to assume it for themselves, I ask you to look at the issue from the other side of the fence. What does it say that 99.9756% of voters who made their voices heard and accepted the decision may have their votes essentially negated by 2,500 protestors and a few (or more than a few) lawyers? I call that tyranny of the minority – the ludicrously small, intolerant, self-centered minority. A lamentable state, indeed.

No comments: