Andrew Clark: I voted ‘yes’ on Prop 8

I’m coming out of the closet: As a Californian, I voted yes on Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. Not because of religious reasons and not because the Bible tells me to – rather, for entirely secular reasons. I don’t think gay marriage is something that California or the United States needs to pursue.

First of all, although supporters of gay marriage would like you think it, this “struggle” is not at all equivalent with the oppressive civil rights wars of the 1950s and ’60s. The 1964 Civil Rights Act gave individual human beings of all colors the fundamental human rights to equality that our Creator endowed to all of us upon birth. In contrast, the gay marriage movement is seeking rights for “couples,” a vague societal concept that is formed much later in life and easily made or broken.

Anti-discrimination laws in the workplace and laws that protect individual homosexuals against discrimination based on their sexual orientation are one thing. Pushing to legalize gay marriage and the rights of couples is quite new and quite another thing.

Let’s analyze marriage laws in the United States. Each state has its own law codes on marriage, each with requirements and restrictions. In California, the law states that anyone can get married, so long as the partner is someone of the opposite sex and above the age of 16. A marriage fee of about $40 and a blood test for HIV are required. There is no mention that this law does not apply to homosexuals or that it only applies to heterosexuals. So theoretically, a gay person and I have the exact same right under California law: We can marry someone of the opposite sex who is older than 16 if we pay 40 bucks and get tested for HIV. That gay person can’t marry a man, but I can’t do it either. So am I being discriminated against? Is he?

Yes, I realize that this is odd back-door logic, but you see my point. The gay marriage movement wants to frame this issue as an oppressive struggle for freedom and equality and an end to discrimination, particularly that there is a fundamental human right to marriage. That’s simply not true. If it is, it’s the first fundamental right I’ve heard of that requires a $40 fee and a blood test.

It seems the issue comes down to the benefits that couples are provided. Last week, one GW columnist said that 1,138 federal rights are given to legally married couples. Again, gay marriage activists cite this as proof of discrimination and hate. Because of its emotional trigger, the one you most often hear is probably the right of couples to hospital visitation. How can you be against that? Many of these rights, however, are simply inherent in a big-government tax system that treats couples as financial entities, hardly the work of hateful discrimination.

If gay couples want these couples-based legal loopholes, I have little problem with them having them. I’m sure a ballot initiative that granted gay partners the right to hospital visitation would pass in any state.

But that, unfortunately, is not in question right now. They don’t want just the couples’ rights. They want the whole tamale, title of marriage and all. It’s an aggressive push on society to take the debate out of the legal realm and into the realm of history, tradition, sexual taboo, recognition and everything else that the title of a “marriage” would uncomfortably force on the rest of the population. It turns from a noble fight against discrimination to a fight of cultural politics. And it’s simply not necessary right now.

So when gay rights activists want to pursue actual rights, let me know. Until then, I’ll be voting yes to ban gay marriage.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist and a member of the College Republicans executive board.

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