California needs Proposition 8

"We, the people of the United States, in order to . . . secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The Orange County Register (Oct. 2), lead newspaper in the Freedom Communications chain, is devoted to the freedom of every individual, particularly political and economic. Experience has demonstrated the wisdom of the maximum of liberty for promoting justice and prosperity. But as the Preamble above makes clear, a free society also must be devoted to perpetuating itself and not facilitating practices at odds with the common good.

When it comes to decisions regarding marriage and family, no one should be forced into unwanted relationships. But inasmuch as marriage has been understood as the union of one man and one woman by every rational definition; and protected, until recently, by every society in the history of the world; it hehooves us to support Proposition 8. Then we may know that we have secured our rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The Register wishes to secure individual rights (there are no other kind) against denial by majorities and their governments, but overlooks the indispensable role of public opinion and public officials. Reflection and experience taught our forbears to reject governments of the one or the few because, as Thomas Jefferson observed, "Republican government is the only one not in open or secret war with the rights of mankind."  He also said that the people are bound "by the moral law."

It is not true that the California Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage will have no effect on marriage. It already has, as county clerks have been ordered by state authorities no longer to refer to the parties as bride and groom, but as A and B. Just this week Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law bills (1) mandating that nurses support homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality (SB 1729), (2) making foster parents teach homosexual-bisexual-transsexual "rights" to foster kids (AB 3015) and (3) elevating homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual "rights" above everyone else's rights (AB 2654). If same-sex marriage is right, the State Legislature and the Governor have decided, all barriers to its full development must be swept away.

Marriage indeed has been reformed to insure the equality of both sexes and to remove racial barriers, as the Register maintained, but it has always been between one man and one woman. It is remarkable that the Register expresses satisfaction that marriage has "evolved" when it has done the opposite with other judicial decisions that treated the text of the Constitution as an "evolving" document.

The Register expresses the hope that same-sex marriage will promote societal stability and reduce promiscuity, but only after affirming as a right what no society heretofore has ever sanctioned. I have read too many angry pronouncements by activists inveighing against "Ozzie and Harriet" families to believe that "lullaby argument."

It is simply wrong for the Register to claim that "Legal recognition of same-sex marriage does not require those who have a moral objection to homosexuality or to homosexual marriage to recognize or approve of it," including ministers. What sort of argument can any responsible party be making against those who disapprove of same-sex marriage except a moral one? Ministers would be advised to protect their congregations from being inundated with demands for same-sex marriage, for surely lawsuits will be filed against and damages sought from uncooperative clergy.

The state has "inserted itself" into marriage and family for good reasons. We all have a stake in insuring that our free society perpetuates itself by upholding the only institution that channels potentially dangerous passions into loving relationships, secures everyone's property rights, and protects children from adults more concerned with their own gratification than the welfare of their offspring. Children need a father and a mother to guide them as they grow up and to provide examples of how to be a man and woman.

The Register has rightly been dubious of experiments in government and the marketplace. It needs to include marriage and family among the institutions to be protected against the same folly. We should vote 'Yes' on Proposition 8.