In all the hub-bub surrounding the start of same-sex marriages in California, it’s worth remembering that in November, there’s likely to be an initiative on the California ballot which would change the state constitution of California so that it specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and recognizes as valid only those marriages between a man and a woman.
What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight. Thousands of loving couples will be forcibly removed from the legal state of marriage, not because they have chosen to do so, but because others have decided that they shouldn’t allowed to be recognized as having a marriage. I imagine it will be single largest forced annulment action between married couples in the history of the United States. This initiative will unambiguously, concretely and irrevocably destroy marriages. This initiative murders marriages.
Naturally, this initiative is called the “California Marriage Protection Act.”
I was married in California and lived part of my married life there, so I feel somewhat invested in this. First and foremost, the idea that marriage in general needs to be “protected” by denying it to same-sex couples is ridiculous, just as it was when people believed that marriage needed to be “protected” by denying it to interracial couples. Second and more specifically, the idea that my marriage needs to be protected by a bunch of hyperventilating ninnies in the midst of a queer panic makes me want to retch. Please do keep your clammy, quivering, homophobic fingers off my state of matrimony, if you please. My marriage has not once been threatened by same-sex marriage; heck, I’ve been to Massachusetts at least four times since same-sex marriage was made legal in that commonwealth. Roving bands of same-sex married couples did not trample my marriage rights while I was there.
But even more specifically, claiming to “protect” marriage when in fact you are intent of destroying potentially thousands of loving, legal marriages is an abomination. Every person who says they support the “California Marriage Protection Act” should be asked this question: “So, you’re willing to destroy legal marriages?” And when they try to wiggle out of answering, by, say, suggesting that “unelected judges” usurped the public will (which is incorrect, as California Supreme Court justices stand for election), or that same-sex couples shouldn’t have been married in the first place, or that their religious rights are somehow being trampled on, or that the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage anyway, they should be patiently and firmly asked the following yes or no questions:
1. Are there legally-married same-sex couples in California?
2. Will the “California Marriage Protection Act” destroy those legal same-sex marriages?
The answers to both: Yes. Which leads back to the first question, doesn’t it.
Make no mistake that supporters of the “California Marriage Protection Act” will be voting to destroy existing marriages. Every single person who says they support this initiative should be made to understand that is what they are going to do, and be made to acknowledge that fact. Every person who is on the fence about the initiative should be made to understand that this will be the consequence. Same-sex marriage is not some theoretical construct in California; it exists. And while no marriages will end if the “California Marriage Protection Act” fails, many marriages will end if it passes.
It does not profit anyone to ignore this reality, nor to ignore the shameful irony of claiming this act somehow “protects” marriage. It doesn’t. So don’t.