THE BLOG
11/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reality Check: Why Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage May Want to Vote Against Prop. 8

People who support same-sex marriage should obviously vote No on Proposition 8, the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples. But there are a host of reasons why those who oppose same-sex marriage should still vote No on Prop 8:

(1) You're a Fiscal Conservative and the Economy is in the Toilet. People who have weddings spend a lot of money and the state treasury has estimated that the state stands to make millions from gay weddings. In addition, litigating the aftermath of Prop. 8, should it pass, will likely cost the state many millions more in legal fees.

(2) You're a Constitutional Conservative. You believe that we shouldn't muck up our constitution with initiative process amendments.

(3) Prop. 8 Won't Actually Stop Gay Marriage. The estimated 11,000 same-sex marriage licenses that have issued will not be invalidated and therefore those couples will remain married. The proposition has no retroactive effect and the State Attorney General has already gone on record with this position. Even going forward, same-sex couples can go to other jurisdictions (such as Massachusetts, Canada, and now Connecticut) to get legally married. They can even stay in California and have a rabbi or minister marry them. Sure, if Prop. 8 passes, those couples will be denied legal recognition, but they're still married and have every right to say so.

(4) You Believe in the Bill of Rights. The state (and federal) Bill of Rights, including privacy rights and equal protection, are expressly in place to prevent majority votes on minority rights. You might not like same-sex marriage, you might not even like gay people, but you can't help but think about who will be next. If put to a vote in the 1940s or 50s, the California Supreme Court decision sanctioning interracial marriage would have been overturned by popular vote. Would that make it right?

(5) You Believe in Religious Freedom. Your church or temple may not sanction gay marriages or homosexuality, but many other churches and temples do. Should the state be in the business of choosing which religious beliefs to honor and which to reject? Ultimately, state recognition of marriage is a civil matter, and regardless of what the state does, churches and temples can continue to refuse to marry same-sex couples. The misleading ads suggesting that churches' tax-exempt status is in jeopardy for refusing to marry same-sex couples is simply untrue.

(6) Prop. 8 Doesn't Protect Marriage. In fact, Prop. 8 may expedite the end of "traditional" marriage. If it passes, there will be years of litigation in state and federal courts on same-sex marriage. This will be expensive (see reason #1) and may ultimately lead to a decision under the U.S. Constitution holding all marriage bans in all states unconstitutional. The federal constitution also protects privacy, liberty and equal protection and even conservative judges have not looked kindly on majority votes taking away rights. The California Supreme Court itself -- to reconcile the demands of equal protection and Prop. 8 -- may well eliminate marriage for all Californians.