Sunday, November 9, 2008

What’s love got to do with it? California’s Prop 8

"The noblest motive is the public good." - Seal of the County of San Diego

Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, passed last week in California. I’m sorry it did. Here’s my view of the heart of the issue.

The public’s interest in marriage has two, and only two, pieces. Marriage is a vehicle for conserving capital – that is, for people to get themselves out of poverty or to keep themselves out of poverty – and it is a vehicle for the secure raising of children. These pieces foster a stable society with fewer people on welfare or in prison.

It seems clear that a lasting marriage can serve both pieces regardless of the spouses’ genders. 

A voter considering only the public interest, therefore, would have cast a ballot against Prop 8.  All other arguments, of which we heard many in the run-up to the election – love, hate, civil rights, homophobia – were red herrings. Or would be, if the only consideration were the public interest.

But it wasn’t. People are entitled to vote their fears and their intolerance, and they did, and they won. 

For someone aiming at the “heart” of the issue, I’ve been awfully analytic. What’s love got to do with it? I’m wary of letting love into the realm of public interest. Demagogues use love of family and love of country to swindle young people into going off to war.  Let’s leave love to individuals, and their hearts.

No comments: