Today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s Prop 8 – an amendment to the state Constitution that explicitly defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. There has been, of course, much celebration from the pro-gay lobby and the cause of much of that celebration is the judges’ statement that,
All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships.
There are two striking things to note about this. First, we should note that a primary reason for the judges’ conclusion is that they found no “legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently.” In other words, a male-male/female-female couple is no different from a male-female couple. Really? If we’re to accept this we essentially have to accept that “being male” is not fundamentally different from “being female”. Proponents of traditional conceptions of marriage justify such a conception because they believe there is a genuine difference between male and female. In the words of Amy Hall, “It’s the innate differences between male and female, not homosexual and heterosexual, that are behind the arguments for bringing opposite sexes together through traditional marriage.”
Today’s ruling completely ignores such a distinction, but if such a distinction were not “legitimate” then why in the world do we still tolerate segregated bathrooms? As soon as you admit that it is morally permissible to segregate the men’s restroom from the women’s, then you’re admitting that there is a legitimate distinction between the two. But if there is a legitimate distinction between the two, then it is very likely there would be a legitimate distinction between homosexual couples and heterosexual ones. The silliness of even suggesting such segregation could be immoral only serves to highlight what ensues when you deny that there is a legitimate difference between male and female.
Briefly, a second thing to note is the judges’ reference to what happens if same-sex couples are not allowed to legally designate that they are married. Such a symbolization grants “state legitimization and societal recognition.” Really? Societal recognition in a place where the majority of members in that soceity voted to not recognize such couples as being married? While it’s certain that the “society” the judges had in mind was their own, this law doesn’t pertain to them. Instead, it forces the inhabitants of California to recognize that which they explicitly rejected. And in the name of “societal recognition”?
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Amy Hall, “Three-Judge Panel Strikes Down Prop 8.”