Dear Voters of the State of California,
In about a month, you’ll be asked your opinions on several important issues, such as who should be the next President of the United States. I am willing to bet that most of you will choose Barack Obama. That would be great, since it would send the message that it’s time for a new generation to lead the country.
Of course, some strange and unforeseen circumstance (cosmic rays interacting with fluoride in the tap water, perhaps) could cause a few more of you to choose John McCain. That would be unfortunate, but at least we could try to vote him out of office in another four years.
But then, there’s Proposition 8, which will amend the State Constitution to recognize marriages only between heterosexual couples. Unlike Presidents, amendments to the State Constitution are pretty much permanent. If you’re undecided, this permanence should be reason enough to vote no. If you vote yes, then when somewhere down the line you realize that the amendment was a mistake, it will not be easy to undo.
Amending your State Constitution is not something to be done trivially. If it is done at all, it should be for one of two reasons. First, to change the structure of the government itself, for example, to change the Assembly into a Parliament. Second, to underscore the rights of the citizens, as was done with the Federal Bill of Rights.
You should never amend your Constitution to withhold rights from any citizens, especially in an attempt to conform behavior to a particular brand of morality. Do you recall Prohibition? Yes, that was a great success, wasn’t it?
The fact is that all couples must have an equal chance at happiness. After all, the unalienable rights found to be self-evident by the Declaration of Independence are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Does allowing Mr. and Mr. So-and-So to officially refer to themselves as such deprive anybody else of their rights? No? Does granting insurance benefits to Ms. and Ms. Such-and-Such deprive anybody else of their rights? No? In fact, the only action that would deprive anybody of any rights would be the amendment of the State Constitution.
I hope you make the right choice.
The Electronic Replicant.