Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor
In 2000, a majority of the citizens of the great state of California flexed their muscles, at least those who voted in the November elections. By way of the ballot box, these fine neighbors told certain members of society that they had no right to marry. In 2000, the citizens of California voted to exclude same sex couples from the super special marriage club.
Despite what the citizens said, in 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome decided on his own that marriage is a right that those who wish to marry should have. I imagine that Mayor Newsome knows that the dictionary definition of marriage is, “The legal relation of a man and woman as husband and wife.”
My guess is that Mayor Newsome also realizes that definitions of words change throughout time. As words pick up or drop certain meanings, dictionaries are modified to keep up with the times. That’s right, it doesn’t work the other way around. The dictionary is not a Bible of definitions.
Even the word gay meant “happy” until the beginning of the twentieth century. It was at that time that the word “gay” began to refer to sexual orientation. Dictionary meanings for words change in accordance to how the words are used.
Those who were outraged at what Mayor Newsome was doing brought suit against the Mayor and the California Supreme Court upheld the citizens’ right to take away the rights of others.
First, the Supreme Court decided that, as the marriage managers spoke in 2000, Newsome was out of line and The Court ordered him to stop hurting the feelings of heterosexual married folk.
However, in May of this year, 2008, the very same The Court had a change of heart and, by a 4-3 vote, decided that people have the right to marry – period. The gender of any perspective spouse would not be a reason to take that right away, even in cases where the genders of both perspective spouses are the same.
Enter the appearance of Proposition 8 on the November, 2008 ballot. Those protectors of marriage are determined that it is their place to choose marriage or bachelorhood for others. Vote “yes” on Proposition 8 and you’ve helped to make other peoples’ minds up for them.
Enter, consequently, the writer of a letter to The Contra Costa Times. The title of the letter is “Marriage is a privilege”. Let’s face it, it’s a different approach. He doesn’t quote The Bible in his letter. Maybe this is one person that realizes that gay atheists, gay Hindus, gay Muslims (I don’t thinks so) don’t necessarily abide by what’s written in the Judeo-Christian “holy book” (minus the New Testament which doesn’t address homosexuality).
The writer doesn’t even claim that extending the right of marriage to same sex couples will marginalize marriage for heterosexual couples. Is it possible that this writer understands that, quite frankly, heterosexual couples have cornered the market on marginalizing marriage?
No, this writer takes a refreshingly new approach. The writer claims that, “As with the driver’s license, marriage is a privilege, not a right”.
It’s really too bad, too, because it was sort of cathartic for me to point out the writer’s steering away from a book of laws that doesn’t pertain to everyone and steering away from the illogical conclusion that homosexuals, who are not legally allowed to marry in most corners of the world, should be blamed for marginalizing marriage.
Let’s look at his argument. Further, let’s use the comparison between the privilege of obtaining a driver’s license and marriage.
The writer is spot on in that, in order to legally drive in The Former United States of America, one has to obtain a license. Likewise, in order to get married, one has to obtain a license.
Unfortunately, that’s where the comparison stops. Other than a blood test required by some states, a waiting period and a minimum age law, there are no legally required tests that a couple needs to pass before being issued a marriage license.