Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Defining Definitions Down...

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? - Groucho Marx

You know, I can remember a time when a rainbow was the symbol of God's promise to Noah that He would never again destroy the World due to Man's wickedness by means of a flood.

Now it seems to be a symbol that whoever owns this car/tee-shirt/lunchbox is a homosexual, and everyone else has to be notified.

I also can remember when you could say that someone was a "gay old fella" without alluding to the probability that he didn't really understand basic biology.

But over the last couple of decades, we have re-defined the word "gay", capitalized it, made a noun out of it, and created a whole new subject that everyone is now required to explain to their children, and usually way sooner than they would like to.

And then there's this...

Marriage: The social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc...

Has now become: A relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction (for now): trial marriage; homosexual marriage.

But the people of California (of all places) voted to put the brakes on the redefinition of a word which has meant the same thing since the dawn of Human Society.

From the San Francisco Gate...

California voters legally outlawed same-sex marriage when they approved Proposition 8 in November, but the constitutional amendment did not dissolve the unions of 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before the measure took effect, the state Supreme Court ruled today.

Prop. 8 undid that ruling by reinstating the definition of marriage that the court had struck down, this time as an amendment to the state Constitution. The author of last year's 4-3 decision, Chief Justice Ronald George, said today that the voters were within their rights to do so...

In dissent, Justice Carlos Moreno, who joined the majority in last year's decision, said today's ruling accepted the separate-but-equal treatment for gays and lesbians that the 2008 ruling rejected.
"Granting same-sex couples all of the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, except the right to call their officially recognized and protected family relationship a marriage, still denies them equal treatment," Moreno said.

Actually, it doesn't, because, unless I've missed something here, a gay man has exactly the same right to marry any woman he wants as a straight man does.

If the gay person chooses not to marry someone of the opposite sex, and instead chooses an alternate lifestyle with alternate rules and alternate benefits and alternate challenges, then that is their choice.

In California, anyway.

For better or for worse, the people of California have spoken. The losers - I mean, the minority opinion raised their challenge, and the Court, for once, declined this particular opportunity to play an activist role, and instead just did their job, which was, to determine whether or not the people had made their statement through proper and legal channels.

Which they did.

So, for now, the word "Marriage" still means what it has always meant.

Just like the words "Democracy", and "Freedom".

At least where this issue is concerned.

At least in California.