I don't think you'll find anyone, anywhere that will dispute that voting is a right gauranteed by the U.S. constitution. But just like the right to free speach, what are the limitations on that right? and what is the actual vote breakdown that Prop 8 supporters are using under the catchphrase "the will of the people"? AND why is it we don't figure in as part of "the people"?
People often disagree with what constitutes a "right" and some will make absurd assertions to back up what is largely a matter of knee jerk reaction, rather than a well thought out argument. Take marriage equality as an example, in yesterdays Courage Campaign live blog it was suggested that Prop 8's defense team was attempting to show that:
"...the federal courts — at least not yet — have not found sexual orientation to be a “suspect class,” so laws that discriminate against them are okay as long as some rational basis can be found to justify it...."And Whats the "Rational basis" they are angling for?......
[New York high court upheld banning gay marriage on the rational basis that straight couples "might" have kids, and so the state has a "greater interest" in allowing straight people to get married. So the NY constitution does not mandate marriage equality. This is clearly what the defense is pushing for.]So...their "rational basis" is that gays can't naturally have children by "accident" like straights do? This immediatly excludes all heterosexual couples who can't have children and the many families that lovingly welcome children into their home through adoption. There again,...it's another argument meant to mask discrimination and offered up as "rationality".
The interesting thing here however, is that, per U.S. law, we are still not considered a "suspect class". This gives anyone who wants, a giant loophole through which to justify...through the letter of the law...state sponsered discrimination. Its a handy way of saying that we are not being denied rights. This is backed up by the comments made in the courtroom to the effect that that current laws don't exclude gays and lesbians.... as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex....(insert cursewords here) to my mind this is a rather smug comment to make and idiotic reasoning.
So what of the voices that claim that overturning prop 8 will be overiding the right of the people to vote? Well...we also have a right to free speach, but we can not stand up in a crowded theater and yell "FIRE!" Thats a restriction on what is traditionally a very broadly interpereted right. The reason being, it violates public safety...in essence....it directly cuts across the rights of others. Your right to free speach does not supercede others right to safety. So I put forth that the rights of Californians to vote should not override my right, as a taxpaying citizen of the United States, to equal treatment under the law. Gays are a suspect class whether officially recognized yet or not, and denying them the right to marry by a popular vote is chosing the rights of a bare majority over the rights of a minority....thus overriding a common limitation we place on rights.
Now lets take a look at that "majority". Since that term is being used against us to show a "mandate" of the people. Some rather surprising facts emerge...
California's estimated population: 36,322,732
Total registered voters: 17, 304, 091
Voted yes on Prop 8: 6,322,732 (17% of CA population and 36% of registered voters)
Wow that number kept shrinking....so this "will of the people" is actually only 17% percent of Californians...that hardly seems like a majority to me. Its only a bare majority of those who got off their butts to vote. I don't think these numbers in anyway justify the claims that the majority of Californians rights will be threatened as that aren't even the majority of Californians anyway.
However...when if/when this makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court and if they decide to deny it on the basis of a technicality, it will be a chilling blow to Constitution of our country. Once that road has been paved, it can be walked again and again. I really hope that the Justices of the court will look past the letter of law and consider the spirit of it. I hope they consider that their function is more than litteral interperatation...that they are their to defend those that can not defend themselves....I may not be reasonable to wish for this but I can still hold on to hope.