Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Is it fair..." of the California supreme court justices asked Kenneth Starr, to nullify the 18,000 gay "marriages" that had taken place between the court's ruling that gay marriage could exist and be practiced in California, and the passage of Proposition 8. Is it fair that all these couples, having moved in together, now lack the legal status they thought they were getting?


Fair is a question you ask after you answer "Is it right?" Slaveowners 200 years ago demanded of abolitionists a justification that taking away their free labor was fair to them. The obvious answer was "No, but it's the right thing to do."

Do I sympathize with the people who had a public ceremony and pooled their resources? Sure. I hate moving to a new home; doing so with someone else, becoming a single legal entity, and then having it undone has got to be an order of magnitude worse than what I experience every few years, not even broaching the subject of it being a civil rights issue.

Am I going to say "Aww, you've put so much time and effort into it; we'll ignore valid legislation that you find inconvenient because we'd feel bad," though? No. Again, I'm not broaching the subject of civil rights, because "is it fair?" is not that kind of question in this context.

Life's not fair. Unfair things happen all the time, and we have to learn to adapt. Social security runs dry and Generation X has to work longer to get full benefits, if they end up getting them at all; retirees lose their pensions, sometimes after years of retirement, sometimes days before retiring. People wait in lines at stores for hours only to find that whatever they wanted to buy is sold out. Rapists walk free because their victims' testimony does not provide sufficient doubt against his alibi. A man's friends plan a surprise party and don't find out until the big day that he's gone out of town for the weekend. What are you supposed to do, get a court order to declare your former employer solvent, or to get an electronic tether on your friend? Become a vigilante or a thief to mete out your own brand of justice and get what you worked as hard (should I say "no harder?") as anyone else to get a chance for?

You want to know what's not fair? Telling a bunch of people that marriage is something it isn't, and assuming that the opinions or powers available to other people who disagree are simply not worth considering, so when things get rough--poof!

Kinda like promising easy mortgages to people who can't, really, afford to buy a big new home. Evicting them would be awful, but what's unfair is making a promise you can't keep.

There are arguments that can be, and are, made in favor of gay "marriage," although I don't buy them. If you have to suggest that it would be too difficult to do the right thing, though, then maybe you don't believe those arguments, either.

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