Sunday, April 5, 2009

Even in the Heartland

I'm amazed and pleased today that gays can marry in Iowa.

There's something very special about the fact that it can happen in the middle of America.

By a stunning 7-0 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court made civil rights the issue again.

And what makes this even more promising is the fact that unlike in California, civil rights can't be denied by a simple majority vote of the people.

In Iowa, there is no initiative process (thank god) and to add something so devastating and negative as Prop 8 is in California, the people of Iowa would first have to have a constitutional amendment pass the state legislature TWICE before it could even be placed on the ballot.

Now that makes so much more sense doesn't it?

Ok, so maybe you don't trust your legislators.  And maybe you think that you know better.

But the truth is, sometimes you do and sometimes you don't.

Who would have thought that in my haven of California, anti-American zealots could vote to revise the California constitution by a simple majority vote?  

I get that issues like taxes and bonds are important and maybe it is a good thing to hear our voice more directly about where our money goes.

But it just blows my mind that this California Supreme court didn't understand that allowing the majority (of the people who voted mind you) to encode discrimination was a MAJOR REVISION of the constitution, not an amendment.

I mean, I'm not a lawyer, but if the constitution guarantees the civil rights of all of its citizens and then a simple majority of the voters should not be allowed to add a discriminatory clause to the constitution since it clearly contradicts the intention of the document, making it a REVISION!!

Another scarier way to look at this:  approximately 13 million votes were cast in the November 2008 election in California.  There are around 23 million registered voters here.  The total population of California is close to 34 million people

That means that around 56% of the registered voters intended to take away rights that were already in place by California Supreme Court decree.  Mind you, the court's job is to determine both what our constitution says, but also to uphold fairness in a country founded on freedom for all.

Here's the biggest rub to me- only 38% of the population of California voted to take away my rights when you consider the entire population, but their vote took away my rights.

Yes, I know that many non-voters are children.  But many aren't.  Some are undocumented. Some are infirm and cannot get to the polling places.  This is an American problem as well as a California problem.

I'm anticipating that our lame California Supreme Court will decided to wash their hands of this mess and give us a partial victory, partial defeat.  Brad and I will be allowed to stay married since we took the plunge before the vote.  But I think they'll also decide that this vote was an "amendment" and not a revision, so that 38% of Californians can decide to offend whomever they please.

Come on people!  We're not talking about putting a lid on property taxes.  Or funding school development.  Or paving our freeways.

We're talking about fundamental rights.

The California initiative process is broken.

It's time to fix it...before your rights are taken away too.

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