Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Get government out of marriage

In a fitting follow-up to my last post about the discrimination suit in Massachusetts over the Defense of Marriage Act, there is a group trying to get an initiative on the California ballot to replace the term "marriage" with "domestic partnership" in all of California's laws. Here's the summary:

SUBSTITUTES DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP FOR MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA LAW. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Replaces the term “marriage” with the term “domestic partnership” throughout California law, but preserves the rights provided in marriage. Applies equally to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. Repeals the provision in California’s Constitution that states only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: This measure would have an unknown fiscal effect on state and local governments. (09-0003.)

On the Facebook group site, the authors of the initiative explain:
The idea behind this compromise is to provide equal rights, without offending the religious community who claim that "marriage" is a religious institution. Thus, "Marriage" itself would become a social ceremony instead of a political institution.

I'm not sure why they included specific language about repealing Prop 8 (which reinforced the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman) since if all laws apply to domestic partners, the definition of marriage seems a bit moot and simply would create more political difficulties. Regardless, it seems that there are plenty of people on both sides of the issue that hate this initiative (conservatives for the reasons you would expect, liberals because it doesn't go far enough), and it's a long shot that it will even get on the ballot, let alone pass, but if you want to sign the petition or or learn more, you can visit their website: www.dompar.org (though apparently, they've been having some server issues due to higher-than-expected interest so the site's been down the last few days).

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