Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gay marriage up to Arnold

SFChron
Marriage equality bill passes the legislature! This bill only changed the word applied to same sex marriages. The current law already treats civil unions equal to marriage, only it doesn't use the word, "marriage."
"'What about Prop. 22? What about the 62 percent of Californians who supported it? What about their will?' asked Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy . . . 'If this legislation doesn't subvert the will of the people, I don't know what does.'"

Often state legislatures pass laws that a majority of the population would not vote for on a referrendum, but that does not necessarily make a law undemocratic or against the will of the people. Indirect democracy can allow the strength of feelings on an issue to be expressed rather than simply the number of people for or against legislation: If 20% of the population has a very strong interest in the passage of a bill (enough to change their vote) and the other 80% don't want the bill to pass, but do not care very much (it will not affect who they vote for next election), then the legislature will respond to the minority. Oftentimes this system will produce such unwelcome things as sugar quotas, but it also protects minorities. I don't see anything undemocratic about taking into account how stongly the supporter or opponents feel about an issue.

Or,

"This is one of those times when history looks upon us to see where we are," Umberg said. "Ten years from now, there are a handful of issues that history will record where we stood, and this is one of those issues.

"History will record whether we pushed a bit, took the lead to encourage tolerance, to encourage equality to encourage fairness," he said.

"The constituency I'm concerned about is a very small one," said Umberg, "and that's the constituency of my three children, should they decide to look back on my record … and reflect on where I was when we could make a difference."

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