Recent Prop 8 debate pointless

February 22, 2010 — by Christine Tseng

Recently, Prop 8 has once again been cast in the limelight. With all the controversy surrounding its passing, it is hardly surprising that the proposition is under debate again. However, what is different this time is that lawyers Theodore Olson and David Boies have joined the fight to overturn the decision. But even their legal might isn’t enough to make their case right, or for that matter, necessary.

Boies is one of the most prominent liberal lawyers in the country, famous for representing former Vice President Al Gore in the Bush vs. Gore case. By contrast, Olson served as solicitor general from 2001 to 2004 under President Bush and has long been considered one of the leading conservative lawyers. Conservatives have been long known for opposing gay marriage and, with Olson widely being seen as a paragon of right-wing values prior to the case, his involvement in the fight to legalize gay marriage represents quite the turn of events. The two have amazingly put aside their differences to challenge Prop 8, a huge coup for its opponents.

The plaintiffs claim that Prop 8’s ban on same sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution and denies gay couples the same rights traditional couples have under the law. They say that Prop 8 was driven by a bias against gays and that the proposition has no legal backing. Furthermore, Olson’s turn to liberal values marks the point that this issue needs to be a bipartisan one. In defense, proponents of Prop 8 argue that the proposition is valid and that it is only an attempt to preserve traditional marriage and is not an attack on gays.

This case resumed in court on Jan. 11 starting with the plaintiffs and defense presenting equally heated arguments. Several emotional testimonies were heard as gay couples shared experiences. The atmosphere could be described as tense and hostile.

However, none of this had to happen in the first place. State law is made for the California residents and as one learns in elementary school, the government represents the people . It acknowledges that people have different views, which is why the vote is there. The majority wins so that the most people’s opinions can be expressed.

Well, more people were in favor of Prop 8, and so what happened is exactly what should have happened. Prop 8 passed. Though arguably one of the most controversial propositions passed in the country, it still passed, and not by a small margin either. It was approved by 7,001,084 California residents, or 52.24 percent of the vote. The opposition trailed with only 47.76 percent, a gap of almost 600,000 votes.

It isn’t like the opposition didn’t have a chance to gain support either. Opponents of Prop 8 spent a whopping $43.3 million on the campaign, more than the proponents, who spent ten percent less. As well, there were numerous rallies and speeches, including ones from San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the past, Proposition 22, which called for a formal definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman, was passed but only as a statute. In 2004, Mayor Newsom married a gay couple, prompting the initiation of Prop 8.

Obviously, people in California were not happy and wanted to preserve marriage. This shows more that though there are many opponents of Prop 8, most Californians still prefer to keep traditional values. At least right now, this expansion of marriage is too much of a change, even for a very liberal state such as California.

Bringing up Prop 8 again for debate is pointless. The publicity that Olson and Boies have produced has only made it worse. The people of California have already spoken for the better twice favoring marraige between a man and a woman only, and it is highly doubtful that they will change. Mayor Newsom once said, “This door’s [for gay marriage] wide open now. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not.” However, it seems that as long as the courts don’t interfere California people will choose once again to close the door.

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