Tuesday is finally over and we have a new President of the United States.

Congrats to President-elect Obama on a substantive victory. I may not be your biggest fan, but I did vote for you over Senator McCain.

Here in California, there were several initiatives, there are ALWAYS several, to look at and while most were bond measures, and there were a couple that caught my interest.

Proposition 8:

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

California Proposition 8, a law that is identical to one that was declared as unconstitutional, was passed by a narrow margin. There is a slim chance that it will not go through when the absentee ballots are counted, in California the absentee ballots tend to be more liberal or progressive than conservative, we will see…

If Proposition 8 should pass, there is a question that I have about the constitutionality of it as follows. Last May I wrote a blog entry titled “Same-sex Marriage & the Conservative Right” where I mentioned the lack of difference between previous Proposition 22 which put the exact same text into the California Family Code as Proposition 8 puts into the California Constitution.

The California Supreme Court threw the Family Code law out since they determined that it violated the “Equal Protection” clause of the State Constitution. So my question becomes this, does inserting it into the Constitution make it constitutional since it still violates the “Equal Protection” clause? Some would say yes, but I wonder about what challenges could be made since this text was already determined to be unconstitutional. It’s one of those legal questions that make some lawyers go hmmmm……

The other aspect of Proposition 8 was the campaign that was used to get voters to go along with it. I would have expected the usual “restore traditional marriage” ads of the past, but I did not see one pro-8 ad that dealt with anything other than same-sex marriage being taught in schools. If you did not read anything else about the proposition, one might have thought that Proposition 8 was about educational curriculum.

The initial ad discussed that in Massachusetts a teacher used a book, showing one called “King & King”, and when some parents balked they were told that they had no right to protest the curriculum or to pull there child out of class.

The case itself, Parker v. Hurley, the premise was that they were not notified of materials they found offensive; from the brief:

In January 2005, when Jacob Parker (“Jacob”) was in kindergarten, he brought home a “Diversity Book Bag.” This included a picture book, Who’s in a Family?, which depicted different families, including single-parent families, an extended family, interracial families, animal families, a family without children, and — to the concern of the Parkers — a family with two dads and a family with two moms. The book concludes by answering the question, “Who’s in a family?”: “The people who love you the most!” The book says nothing about marriage.

Where this case fell apart legally was that the law they sued under to block this requires notification and an opportunity to exempt their children from “curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues.” This has been interpreted as sex education and other related classes. The subject of the class was “what makes a family” which the courts determined did not qualify under this law.

This is not how the case was presented in the advertising for the pro-8 position. Sadly, this is hardly the exception but has started to become the rule as of late. Another good example of this is the so-called Texas Sodomy case where you here the far-right saying that sodomy is now legal in the State of Texas.

If one actually looks into the case, you find that sodomy has always been legal in the State of Texas if you are a heterosexual couple and the law that was challenged and eventually dismissed was only making it criminal for same-sex couples.

I sometimes wonder when we will start requiring political campaigns to actually be direct and honest to the subject. I mean sure there will be some mention of same-sex marriage in schools when it becomes legal, but the proposition has nothing to do with education.

Proposition 4:

WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

This is a situation that required much thought to decide on my vote.

What made this so tough for me was that where there is a certain validity to the idea that not all families are positive experiences for a young girl and it may be difficult for her to discuss an unwanted pregnancy with her family, I also wonder just how much of a right to information the parents have?

In this country, we tend to hold parents as the responsible parties for the actions of their minor children. If a child vandalizes a neighbors property, the parents are the ones who are obligated to reimburse the damages. In some places, if a student does not go to school, the parent can be fined for the truancy.

If we are going to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children, how can we expect them to do this when we keep denying their right to know what their child is doing under the auspices of “right to privacy” for said minor?

How I voted is between myself and the booth, but this was something that made me think.

In case you don’t live in California, Proposition 4 did not pass by a 52% to 47% margin.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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