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Ahnold's decision in CA - Journal of Omnifarious

Sep. 8th, 2005

10:32 pm - Ahnold's decision in CA

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I've seen a lot of people both for and against the decision to veto the gay marriage bill in CA. All of them seemed bent on upbraiding Arnold for not upholding their political agenda, or praising him for upholding it. Not one seemed to in any way address the content of his reason. I consider it a symptom of the depths to which political discourse in this nation has fallen that this is the case.

But, a friend of mine wrote an excellent letter cautioning him on his decision, the text can be found here.

I find it interesting how many see this battle as being the ultimate battle for gay civil rights. IMHO, the real battle for these kinds of civil rights is fought in the minds of the people, not in the legislature, and not in the judiciary. No matter what you convince those two bodies to do, if the people don't agree with you, you will still be beaten up, hanged, made fun of, what-have-you. It will all still happen, and it will be quietly supported by society because really, people don't agree that you should have these rights.

Now, I don't believe in the rule of the majority. And I think that people deserve these rights. But I think many are utterly foolish to believe that a battle won in the legislature or judiciary really means anything useful as far as what rights they will have on the streets.

Law reflects the will of the people, and if it doesn't, its ignored or the government is overthrown. You can't use law as a shortcut to the hard work of changing people's minds.

Current Mood: [mood icon] contemplative


[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
some good thoughts. I (as a queer chik) have long pondered over all this, the wisdom (or un-) of prompting the gay-marriage judicial battles and passing bills, as it certainly has the byproduct of stirring up equally vehement and opposing hatred, panic and antagonism amongst the uber-convervos against queer folk.

In the end tho, I feel that sometimes the law has to come first, and the change-of-heart/mind later, even if the change of heart isn't until generations later. Clearly changing a law does nothing to change hearts/minds of those at the time still vehemently opposed, but just because there are still a population of segregationist folk out there, doesn't mean I think the Supreme Court should've side-stepped overthrowing segregationist law until everyone came around....else we'd still be a segregated country wouldn't we?
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[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
I think the theory is that a change of laws would present a fait accompli which would lead to general acceptance since, uh, marriage is actually a pretty invisible thing.

As a counter-point, the legality of universal toplessness in cities such as Toronto and New York has not been embraced. Of course, toplessness is different in that it is a question of people actually leaving their tops at home rather than people accepting people who leave their tops at home. And, as long as it's relatively uncommon, arseheaded gawkers will pounce on the pioneers and block the popularization.

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