pseydtonne: Behold the Operator, speaking into a 1930s headset with its large mouthpiece. (bright-blessings)
I need to bring this up while it's fresh in my mind. I also need to eat breakfast, even though I've been awake for two and a half hours.

Lots of folks are upset that Proposition Eight passed in California. This makes gay marriage illegal again in that state. The theory floating around is that the black community turned out in droves to vote but that community is mostly against gay marriage because of its religious roots. I haven't studied the numbers yet, so I hope it's something slightly more complex than that. I'll blame Modesto for now -- no one likes the Central Valley.

Someone in another discussion proposed separating religious marriage from civil unions to solve the problem. I replied as follows:

Civil unions aren't tested in court whereas marriages are. This is why gay marriage is so important in America and why I'm glad to live in Massachusetts.

Defining civil unions would be fine if 49 of the 50 states, California included, did not have Common Law. In Canon Law countries (for example, France), they can just legislate a new kind of marriage and that's that. Gay couples cannot get married in France, but they can get a PACS and so can straight couples. That's it, end of problems.

The Federal judiciary in America and the judicial systems in all states except Louisiana use the English system of Common Law. This means jurisprudence affects the interpretation of law. A judge looks at a situation and decides which pieces of previous legal precedent affect it. There is no precedent for a civil union to mean anything in court across all legal boundaries, so it can get holes bored into it.

Marriage is, legally speaking, sacrosanct. Even if two atheists get married by an Elvis, they still have the legal protections of a couple married in a church by a bishop. The state says they can visit each other in the hospital, inherit each other's debts and possessions, and have legal guard over each other's children. This goes way back, before America seceded from the UK and before the Cornish language disappeared.

So yes, the fight must continue. Marriage needs to be for any two people of legal age not already in a marriage and not blood-related. That's marriage, not a civil union or some other title. It must have the legal traditions even if no church (other than the UU or the ULC) ever honors it.

Would it be nice if religious marriage could be separated from civil marriage? Perhaps. Too bad it's not happening -- who'd win the lawsuit about keeping the name "marriage"? (That lawsuit would take longer than the Oneida Land Claim, too.)

-meanwhile, prop 8a

August 2016

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