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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Can’t we all just get along?

Civil rights groups have requested that the California courts block an initiative which would renew the state’s ban on gay marriage from appearing on the November ballot.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but the idea that so many people are willing to devote so much of their own time and money to fund an initiative that would take rights away from their neighbors is incomprehensible to me. Don’t they have better things to do?

In an effort to wrap my head around the issue, I did some research, visiting protectmarriage.com, the official website for the California Marriage Protection Act.

After exploring the website and several of its sister (brother? Did anyone ever assign a gender to websites?) websites, I found myself consistently returning to one thought: What the hell?

The reasoning behind the proposed amendment to the state constitution seemed to me, after reading through all of the bullet points, to be that the group just doesn’t like this idea very much.

One primary argument made for the amendment is that children need to have a father and a mother in their lives for a healthy upbringing. ProtectMarriage says that this is a fact supported byoverwhelming evidence. Digging deeper it seems that the studies are actually varied in their results. The American Psychological Association, for instance, has said that research into the area hasfailed to confirmany of the stereotypes about homosexual parents. Where I found this information also surprised me: At the beginning of a paper arguing for a ban on gay marriage. This hardly seems like an overwhelming body of research. The paper then goes on to argue that conclusions like the one reached by the APA are invalid becausethere is no reliable body of research that compares children being raised in same-sex versus mother/father homes.

If that is the case, then all the research on the subject should be regarded as inconclusive, not just the research that disagrees with ProtectMarriage’s point of view.

Such a point of view is expensive to maintain; according to the website, getting the initiative on the November ballot has run up a tab of approximately $1.6 million. I guess spending that much money to deny people a little slice of happiness is hard for me to fathom.

Equally hard to come to terms with were some of the impressions that the ballot initiative’s supporters seem to be laboring under. Clicking on a link to a list of sponsors for the initiative, I found the oxymoronically named Preserveliberty.com, which asksCan our freedom be preserved if we forget America’s Biblical foundation upon which our liberty is based?”

I suppose the answer would have to be a resoundingyesas millions of people get by day to day just fine without a biblical foundation. Moreover, as I understand it, our country is partially based on a separation of church and state. Maybe we should keep it that way? Just a thought.

Sometimes the reasoning for banning gay marriage is just hard to follow. Take, for instance, the following paragraph, which is presented as a reason for the ban:In 1993 Norway legalized domestic partnerships. Now the average out of wedlock birthrate in Norway is a staggering 60 percent and in some areas it is as high as 80 percent. Here in the United States, one-third of children are born out of wedlock. Decades of social science and government data are absolutely conclusive that overall, children have the best physical, cognitive and social outcomes when raised in a home by a married mother and father in a low conflict marriage.

Maybe Im missing something, but not only do several of those sentences not logically follow one another, I’m having trouble seeing how the paragraph as a whole makes the point that gay marriage is bad. If anything, this means that there should be more children raised in marriages, gay or otherwise.

It’s also important to note that correlation and causality are two entirely separate things. If they were not, you could almost certainly blame global warming on the decline in pirates. But nobody would make that argument. Because it’s dumb.

It is a major source of embarrassment to me that so many people in this state feel so negatively about their friends and neighbors. Because when it comes down to it, this November ballot initiative is about making people unhappy, which not only violates the golden rule, but most aspects of human decency.


RICHARD PROCTER was hoping to write about the Lakers winning the NBA championship in this column, but the Celtics kind of put the kibosh on that. E-mail him ways to motivate Pau Gasol at rhprocter@californiaaggie.com.


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