Opinion: Behind the gay-marriage talk


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From San Francisco to ... ? (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.)

The Times editorial board formulates its positions on ballot measures not only by research, but by inviting representatives of both sides to (separate) meetings with the board. It’s a good forum for probing an issue, and the results sometimes are surprising. So it went with the supporters of Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution so that gay and lesbian couples no longer could marry. The board already has published its stand on the measure, but the editorial left out some interesting turns in the conversation.


The measure’s supporters are generally careful to avoid appearing anti-gay, probably because they realize that, for all the voter split on same-sex marriage, Californians generally support gay rights. They professed in our meeting to have no ill will toward gay people...until the talk went deeper.

At one point, the conversation turned to the ‘activist judges’ whose May ruling opened the door to same-sex marriage, and how similar this case was to the 1948 case that declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional. According to one of the Prop. 8 reps, that 1948 ruling was OK because people are born to their race and thus are in need of constitutional protection, while gays and lesbians choose their homosexuality. So much for the expert opinions of the American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics that people cannot choose their sexuality. Oh, those activist doctor types.

In any case, one Prop. 8 supporter said, gay rights are not as important as children’s rights, and it’s obvious that same-sex couples who married would ‘recruit’ their children toward homosexuality because otherwise, unable to procreate themselves, they would have no way to replenish their numbers. Even editorial writers can be left momentarily speechless, and this was one of those moments. Aside from this notion of a homosexual recruitment plot -- making it understandable where the word ‘homophobia’ came from -- this made no logical sense at all. Same-sex couples. whether married or not, already have children. Marriage wouldn’t change a thing about this picture except, perhaps, to model for children that parents tend to be married.