Thursday, November 6, 2008

Those Conflicted Californians

CNN reports that the vote in California included several referenda which yielded surprising results. The biggest surprise and disappointment for me was the ban on gay marriage. I always thought California led the nation and the world in progressive thought, but then again it is the state of Reagan and Schwarzenegger.

The Los Angeles County Registrar's Office stopped issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the apparent passage of a ballot measure to eliminate the right of gay couples to marry, the agency said Wednesday.

As of 11:30 p.m. ET, 52 percent of voters had approved California's Proposition 8, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Talk Left has an informative article about the criminal justice decisions.

In addition to the disappointing outcome of California's Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, the state's voters made mistakes in rejecting Proposition 5, which would have shifted the state's response to drug crimes from incarceration to treatment, and approving Proposition 9, which purports to give new "rights" to crime victims.

It seems clear what Proposition 5 is all about, which leaves me in agreement with the Talk Left analysis. Proposition 9, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. It's also referred to as Marsy's Law. The main argument against it I could find is that it changes nothing. I guess that's what they meant by putting rights in quotation marks.

It all strikes me as odd that the liberal progressive State of California could be so conflicted on these issues. Voting for Obama and against gay marriage seems totally incongruous to me. This is the State that gave us Haight-Ashbury and the Grateful Dead for crying out loud. Just ask Daisy.

What's your opinion? Do you find some of these laws odd? Are the people so divided on gay marriage that it keeps bouncing back and forth?


  1. I'm afraid I can't respond to this post without going on a fire-spitting rant about a certain religious group who the media is crediting with funding Prop 8 and its success in CA.

    That being said, I really see no argument against gay marriage or adoption that is not religiously based and therefore has no place on ballots anywhere.

    The fact that Obama doesn't support gay marriage is the one big bone I had to pick with him. People have a right to think whatever they want about how other people live their lives, but enacting legislation to deny a specific group a specific right enjoyed by all others is bigotry, pure and simple.

    And before someone invokes the "slippery slope" argument (Next people will want the right to marry babies and animals and inanimate objects!!!), can I remind everyone that we're talking about consenting adults in loving, committed relationships?

    I was genuinely disappointed and not a little humiliated that all those anti-gay initiatives passed on Tuesday. When did progressive become such a filthy word?

    We should be the trailblazers, the bastion of freedom and tolerance. Apparently the "shining city on a hill" is on a hill for a reason--to keep the riffraff and other undesirables out.

    Then again, I suppose it's premature for me to expect America to outgrow its homophobia before it's even outgrown its racism. We made progress last night, but ignorance is still out there to be thwarted.

    I like how I said I wasn't able to comment, but then proceeded to do so. Typical.

  2. i find it odd how that fallacious slippery slope argument Vicki mentions only ever gets used with respect to same-sex marriage.

    i mean, it's not as if the definition of marriage hasn't changed before. the most obvious example being interracial marriage, but also things like the ability to easily get out of a marriage (no-fault divorce), the separation of marriage from sexual obligations (marital rape being criminalized), and on and on.

    marriage has always been a legal concept, and as such has always been subject to ongoing change --- yet it's only this proposed change that brings on the hysterical "omg soon it'll be legal to marry your dog!" whining.

  3. Amen, Nomen.

    Michael Beschloss made me misty Wednesday. He told a story about explaining to his young boys that black people didn't always have the right to vote and that a lot of people were really upset when they were given that right.

    His boys were dumbfounded and couldn't even fathom why anyone would be upset about that and why anyone would want to deny anyone the right to vote.

    I hope by the time my son's their age he and I will be having the same discussion about gay rights.

  4. Wait a minute, Nomen. Are you trying to say that you gun guys don't use the slippery slope argument? Isn't it the very reason you (plural) won't budge an inch when we argue about guns?

  5. Mike,

    Background checks, waiting periods, training classes, permits to carry concealed, firearm owners, not carrying, but owner's permits in some states, NFA ban on new fully automatic firearms.....and WE WON'T BUDGE AN INCH?

    Give me a break.

  6. as Bob mentioned, there's been seven decades of gun owners budging on regulations. a "compromise on gun control", historically speaking, has worked out this way: gun owners compromise by giving something up, and gun controllers compromise by not demanding gun owners give up everything else right at that moment, also.

    that's the difference, then: with gun control, the slope really is slippery. name me one period in history when buying a gun was harder to do than it is right now --- heck, turn the clock backwards as far as you please, and try to name an earlier period when it was harder to buy a gun in the USA than at your chosen point in time. how is that not a slippery slope, with gun owners sliding ever downwards on it?

  7. And of course try to find a time when the murder rates were higher.

    I know Mike Doesn't like Stats, so He won't belive me when I point out that Dodge City Kansas, or Deadwood South Dakota were safer than Chicago, or LA of today.

  8. Nomen, All the slopes are slippery. That doesn't mean we shouldn't admit to things that are true, simply out of fear that we'll slip down the rest of the slope.

    Weer'd, I've been to some of the seedier parts of modern American cities and have no doubt that they're more dangerous than old Tombstone AZ and the others.

  9. Mike,

    If parts of society are more dangerous today then the "wild west" of the past, can you honestly say it is the easy availability of firearms that is causing it?

    Think about it, just about everyone had a firearm; some families only survived because they could hunt. Marksmanship was the norm, yet it was safer then.

    The restrictions on firearms are relatively modern. I remember as a youth going with my dad to buy a hunting rifle. We stopped at hardware stores, department stores, etc. I think he finally bought one at Sears; cash money and the only question was did he want a scope and ammunition also.

    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

    We often focus on the right to be armed but think of the obligations to society that go along with that right. First, to provide protection for yourself.
    Second, protection of others; it was often said that prior to the arrival of trains a woman could travel across the west unmolested. Ever consider why that was possible? It was the second part of Heinlein's quote, people were held accountable for their manners.
    Lastly, as part of protection for others, a person was expected to provide protection and ensure the community standards were upheld. While that was abused (KKK for example) it also made it possible to have a very small percentage of people dedicated to law enforcement.

    Would you rather live in western times Deadwood with it's prevalence of firearms but lack of cops or modern Chicago, lots of cops but few firearms outside of cops and robbers?

  10. All the slopes are slippery.

    no, actually, if they were then the slippery slope fallacy would not be, ehem, fallacious.

    as applied to the present situation, we can demonstrate that although marriage has always been in flux, there's never been any real risk of the concept disappearing entirely nor of ridiculous outcomes such as interspecies marriage, hence that part is a fallacious argument. yet, as bob and i mentioned, matters are different when it comes to firearms, hence that fear is far more justified. the two are not comparable.

  11. "Would you rather live in western times Deadwood with it's prevalence of firearms but lack of cops or modern Chicago, lots of cops but few firearms outside of cops and robbers?"

    I'd take Chi-town. I can do my best to keep my head down and avoid trouble...but how can you avoid microbes? In the Old West I'd be more worried about illness than bullets. That 150 years of Medical advances has done quite a lot.

    Still that's something for Mike to also contemplate. Back in the Old West a person who was shot they rarely died that day. They'd be down, but not out...but eventually with lack of modern medicine most would die from the wound, or more often from infection.

    Yet in Boston, somebody gets into a gang dispute, they get rushed to Mass General Hospital, which is inside of a 20 min Ambulance drive from all the major Gang Havens in Boston, and has some of the best Doctors in the world. They get patched back up and are back on the streets.

    The death rates by gunfire in the Old West were lower than Boston or Chicago of today...yet most wounds were fatal back then, while most are survivable today because of Medicine, and guns were EVERYWHERE (like EVERY DAMN HOUSE had at LEAST a shotgun and a rifle, and most people who went out riding carried a pistol...both for protection against their fellow man, but from nature...also given that there was no cellphones, gunshots were often used as distress signals) and yet in Boston and Chicago guns are essentially banned, and even the criminals houses don't have any guns in them (again, they hide them in the neighborhood so that the gang can all use the gun, and also protects them from search warrants).

    What's the huge difference? Culture is a big one...but I'll also add, in the Old West Thieves were apprehended, tried and Hanged in the town square...often in the same day.