Hours and hours of legal argument, because we live in a democracy where the tyranny of the majority is possible, instead of a republic based on the principle of individual rights. The California Proposition 8 vote is a microcosmic example of the vast majority of laws that are made in this country.

As a teenager, I read about the Rock Island Bridge case in the 1850s. Abraham Lincoln focused in on showing that people have as much right to cross the Mississippi River as to navigate along it. My reaction was, “of course”. Not to equate the complexities of that case with Proposition 8 (complexities that would not have existed in a society of private ownership of all land and water), in fact to just make a simplistic comparison to it, my view of the statement that homosexual couples have as much right to choose the same legal stature as heterosexual couples is, “of course”.

Yet, here we are in a society where those who want to protect their turf, whether it be in concrete or in the abstract, can band together and infringe on the rights of others. Proposition 8 an affront to simple common sense. It is one that should never have progressed even to the signature verification stage. Proposition 8 is an indictment, not so much of regression, but of how far we have to go before individual rights are secure in this country. The Founding Fathers were not perfect, but they were excellent at portending the future possibilities and warned against political tyranny.

The legal texts are full of anti-individual rights’ laws that need to be stripped away, a task that the current culture will not permit.

Footnote: The legal arguments included many references to the California terms Constitutional Amendment and Constitutional Revision. The California Constitution can be modified in two ways. Firstly, Constitutional Amendments, representing minor changes that do not require a vote in the legislature. Secondly, Constitutional Revisions, which are pertinent for major changes and must pass a 2/3rds vote in both State houses. This system is flawed on two counts. Not only is the notion that a vote, no matter by how much of a majority, can be used to destroy the rights of others, antithetical to individual rights, but, in practice, all it takes is a Constitutional Amendment to do so.

A clear indication of people’s lack of understanding of individual rights is the number of articles I’ve read that consider the passing of this Amendment as tyranny of the majority, but claim that this would not be the case if it had been, instead, enacted through a Revision. I roll my eyes in horror – destruction of rights by a simple 50%+1 vote is not acceptable, but by a super majority in the legislature is! The “separate, but equal” nature of Proposition 8 smacks of the “separate, but equal” Apartheid laws enacted in South Africa. It is simple tyranny, regardless of how enacted.