There are problems with all the excuse making for same-sex marriage. I see three.
The first has to do with the notion of love and family throughout history. If it is true that same-sex couples in all of their manifestations of love and family have always been true love, what did they have in that love that they would lack after Eight passed on November 4th? Nothing. There is nothing to recognize in homosexual love that will change or be any way better discernible after an election. 99% of the time.
The second has to do with the outside possibility that an officially recognized gay marriage would be something new that has never existed before, which is to say if the above comment has a leak, it is that after November 4th given the failure of this referendum, that gay couples will have something they never had before. But I suspect in the tone of the dissenting voices against Prop Eight, that they are not only against the proposition, but they are against the very idea that there should be a proposition. Which of course was the attitude of the judges who brought the necessity of the proposition by their initiative in declaring the prior declared will of the people unconstitutional.
Marriage is not only between a man and a woman, marriage is a public declaration of love and trust. Not only between two people but a contract with society. It is an invitation to judgment done with love and trust. When we publicly declare before God and man, our eternal devotion to another, we invite them into our business, to judge our behavior against a standard. Those who do not want to be so judged don't bother to be married - they elope, they shack up, they do whatever it is they do with no need or desire for others to pay them any mind. They depend solely upon the value of their love to sustain them - you and me against the world, baby. That's what's known (very well) as 'common law marriage' and it is what every serious domestic partnership has this very moment. It thus should be clearly understood that the true import of any resolution on marriage for gays is that all of us - the people of the State of California - being so invited to judge. And so it has come to this, where we discharge a duty as citizens variously capable and willing to begin a new regime of judgment or to leave well enough alone. And I think there is one thing everyone can agree on. Our judgments on the propriety of gay marriage will not change with the passage of law, this law is not for any of us who already know what we already know. It is for the instruction of children.
Implicit in this there may be some hope that the new, socially accepted Gay Marriage, could be to the next generation something other than the darkness of the shadow of whatever ghosts and fears of homosexuality lurk in whomever's minds. There might be some hope that officially married gays might be more open and comfortable, more supported in their family lives by a generation that accepts them more than we are presumed to in the status quo. I'm not quite sure what to make of such a hope, and that is because all of my close gay friends are closeted. And that only proves one thing - which is that everybody ain't cut out for Marriage, and some people are smart enough to recognize that fact.
Thirdly, this being California, there is no right anywhere, in any court, under any circumstance which is withheld from domestic partners. In fact, if this referendum fails, I will be able to be married, but I will not be able to be a domestic partner, but gay couples can be both. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply false. Which is why the language of Eight is so simple. The proposition is merely a defense of something we know to be true, that marriage is between a man and a woman, against something we don't quite understand at all. Or perhaps we do, whether our opponents think we do or not.
If Eight is defeated, on the best day the best that could possibly be said was that some electoral majority of Californians saw fit to judge the competency, quality and content of gay relationships who declared themselves Married against our own sensibilities. Then again, we do that anyway don't we? That's not really what this is all about. Defeating this proposition is a statement in defense of a broken principle - which is that all things should be considered equal whether or not they are.
I think there are no good reasons to put this matter up for grabs except that an error in judicial temperament forced the hands of people like myself who would rather have had all hands off the Constitution of California. I am satisfied with the status quo, and as I have said any number of times, I fully support, 100% civil unions for same sex couples with equal rights in every aspect of family court. I simply desire with all due respect that Marriage not be redefined for any reason at all.
While any number of parallels and analogies will be made I think they are of little use. I expect people to address the question directly now that we are brought to this crisis point, this moment of truth. I think I am wise enough to see that what is in people's hearts and minds, and how people are apt to behave will not be dramatically altered by any public declarations except to the extent that they decide to take it personally. With any luck, now you know how I stand.