Thursday, November 20, 2008
Why Proposition Eight is Immoral
Proposition Eight aroused the strongest emotions on both sides of the issue than any other California proposition in recent history. It set a world record for amounts of donations. The same-sex marriage banning proposition passed in California to the great disappointment of many San Franciscans. In the days following the election, widespread protests flooded the states, with 50,000,000-member Facebook groups protesting its passing sprouting up in a single afternoon. The result of the proposition disappointed many, but strengthened the desire to repeal it for many more.
I myself strongly oppose the ban on Same-Sex marriage for the same reasons that many others do. All throughout history, laws and propositions have been passed that guarantee rights to citizens, the passing of proposition eight marked the first time that human rights were taken away from citizens. Being a left-leaning Libertarian, economic and social freedom are what I base my political views upon. With the recall of rights from citizens, the prohibition of discrimination is compromised. It is the only action that takes away freedom of choice in legal arrangements for people of differing sexual preferences. This in itself is discrimination, as it denies certain human rights to citizens on basis of sexual orientation. Says Libertarian Philosopher Ayn Rand: It is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults.
However, before any judgment on the “protection of marriage” is made, the very nature of marriage must be brought into question. Here, marriage will be defined as the social ritual of the unity of two (or more, but that's another issue) individuals. Still, the definition of marriage has been redefined multiple times throughout history: polygamy has been legalized once by the Mormon church in the nineteenth century, and prior to 1967, efforts to prohibit interracial marriage were attempted.
Most of the support of Proposition 8 is based on the question of morality and ethics, with many citing their religious heritage as proof of its immorality. While the morality of same-sex marriage has been questioned, the immorality of it hasn't. According to John Stuart Mill's utilitarian. ethical theory that “The moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome and that what is moral is what makes the most individuals happier.” many social conservatives are displeased with same-sex marriage, its prohibition leads to the stronger unhappiness of the entire LGBT community. As the prohibition of same-sex marriage makes more people unhappy than if it were allowed, its prohibition will be unethical as it makes more people unhappy.
I will end with a note from philosopher Thomas Hobbes. That the government may take away the rights of the citizens only when it offers a protection in exchange. The government may take away the right to kill from the citizens, but at the same time, they give the citizens protection from murder. Unlike the kind of recall of rights Hobbes is talking about, the passing of proposition eight takes away essential and fundamental rights from citizens and gives no protections in return. Such a law is immoral.