Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prop 8 Does Not Diminish Anyone's Rights

Here is a quote from an email I received from a thoughtful person who is weighing the issue of Prop 8. He makes a good point about the rights of homosexuals:

Allowing same sex couples to marry does not grant them additional rights, nor does the marriage amendment eliminate any rights they currently have. The Supreme Court's written decision acknowledged that same sex couples have all of the rights of married couples already. Their decision was not about granting further rights, it was about creating an expanded definition of marriage. Here is, in part, what their decision said:

"...California, which in recent years has enacted comprehensive domestic partnership legislation under which a same-sex couple may enter into a legal relationship that affords the couple virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges, and imposes upon the couple virtually all of the same legal obligations and duties, that California law affords to and imposes
upon a married couple."

Also: "We note that although much of the academic literature discussing the legal recognition of same-sex relationships frequently uses the term domestic partnership to describe a legal status that accords only comparatively few legal rights or obligations to same-sex couples, the current California statutes grant same-sex couples who choose to become domestic partners virtually all of the legal rights and responsibilities accorded married couples under California law." (Search "s147999" to find the full text.)

In this context, it is interesting to note that the Family Code in the state of California prohibits a man from entering a domestic partnership with a woman. In other words, the cohabitation of an unmarried man and a single woman would not qualify, legally, for the title of domestic partner in this state. Yet, no one calls this discrimination or bigotry. They don't, because it's not. There are characteristics that define marriage and characteristics that define domestic partnerships and they are different. Yet each definition provides the same rights as the other. So where is the discrimination?

Many that oppose Prop 8 don't realize or acknowledge this fact. Instead, they claim that those in favor of the measure are seeking to destroy the rights of gays and lesbians. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a good friend of mine pointed out, if that were the case, why weren't current Prop 8 supporters on a crusade when domestic partnerships were being granted the same rights as married couples?

...the issue at stake here is not one of rights. It is simply about the definition of the word marriage.


Anonymous said...


Regardless of what Prop 8 supporters say it does in fact take away rights like:
1. Pension plan survivor benefits
2. Guaranteed leave when a family member is ill
3. Long-term care insurance for public employees
4. Tax exemption of inheritance
5. Spousal veteran benefits
6. Ability to not testify against spouse
7. Property tax and home value can be reassessed after death of spouse (meaning taxes can skyrocket)
8. Tax exemption of assets over $11,000 between spouses
9. Shared property
10. Marriage

Anonymous said...