My Take on Prop 8: Why Same-Sex Couples Are Not Really Seeking Equal Rights Under the Law

I’ve wanted to address Proposition 8 (P8) for a while, but I did not want to write out of ignorance. So, after brushing up a little on the issue and considering both sides, here’s my response.

First, for the sake of intellectual honesty set your pre-judgments aside for a moment. Please refrain from lumping me in with others who have come to the same conclusion as I have and allow my views and arguments to stand or fall on their own.

Having said that, let me state my position. I am for P8 because, even if it passes, California law states, “registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law . . . as are granted to and imposed upon spouses” (Family Code 297.5). That means that same-sex domestic partners already have the legal provisions equal to that of married spouses. If P8 passes, the only difference between same-sex and traditional couples will be in name only. Heterosexual union will be called “marriage.” Homosexual unions will be called “domestic partnership.” Other than that there will be no difference under the law. Thus, P8 will not discriminate; it will merely delineate, by name, whether unions are heterosexual or homosexual.

The opponents of P8 say it is unfair, wrong, and denies rights to same-sex couples. But those couples already have been given the exact same rights under the law. So, one cannot legitimately argue against the proposition on the basis of rights. They already have them.

There is a legitimate issue opponents of P8 raise: confusion. Domestic partners have the right to be there for each other in emergencies and times of need. However, there is often confusion over whether or not they have legal access and authority in such situations. But even if P8 fails to pass it will not remove the uncertainty. The confusion is not in the law but in the culture. Legally sanctioned homosexual union is relatively new to our society and it will take time for our cultural consciousness to catch up to our legal code. But this issue seems to me that it can be best addressed by better training of medical personnel and the like.

Through all this consideration the real issue comes to the surface. Same-sex couples are not seeking equal rights under the law. That is misleading; they already have them. They are really seeking equal moral status in the eyes of society.


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