Are You 10% of a Man? (Colorado Amendment 43 and Referendum I)
The problems with Amendment 43 are many. First of all, I believe it violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bans the establishment of a state religion, and guarantees the right to freely exercise one's own religion. As I've written before, this line is clearly crossed when a minister is arrested for performing a gay marriage.
Second, Amendment 43 is being added to the state constitution. This document is supposed to contain our state's guiding principles, guaranteeing rights for all of us. Putting it into the constitution only makes it hard to change. This is exactly what the proponents want. As time goes by and people become more accepting of people with different sexual orientations, this abomination cannot easily be undone.
In fact, the exact same limitation that is being proposed here is already a Colorado statute as well as a federal law. So, it is completely redundant and a waste of all of our time, energy, and money.
Look carefully at the words of the proposed amendment. "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." So not only is any other type of union not a marriage, it also isn't valid. I don't know what that means, but I'm suspecting that the authors of the amendment intend it to mean that domestic partnerships are not to be valid. But, for all I know, it also means that trade unions would no longer valid be in Colorado.
It really irritates me when anybody, whether a lawmaker or a petition writer, puts ambiguous words into a measure with the intent that it be clarified in the courts. Not only is that expensive, it also proves that are cowards. They don't have enough confidence in their position to say and argue for exactly what they mean.
Let's look at some of the arguments for Amendment 43. First, there is protecting the definition of marriage. Well, perhaps I should circulate a petition to add the definition of the word "bigot" to the constitution, just so nobody gets confused about who it applies to.
Gay marriage does not threaten any particular marriage, nor does it in any way threaten the institution of marriage as a whole. Nobody is being forced into a gay marriage, nor is any hetero marriage being prevented or questioned.
This amendment is not needed to protect the historical definition of marriage. Marriage on this planet has had many forms over time. The current form -- boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have kids, grow old together and die together -- has not been around for that long. Many societies have seen gay marriage, polygamy, marriage of convenience, arranged marriage, harems, concubines, and many other types of "unions". We are now contemplating writing a current "fad" into our constitution.
According to supporters, marriage exists solely to create, nurture, and protect children. Well, they are flat out wrong. Marriages exist for many reasons. When my wife and I got married, we knew we would never have children. When my grandmother remarried in her 60s, there were clearly no children in the plans. I consider this argument to be an insult, and I would not put up with it if it was used to my face.
The amendment is intended to protect marriage against so-called "activist judges". All this means is that proponents of this amendment are afraid that some judge will someday disagree with them. Well I hope so, but disagreeing with religious fundamentalists does not make a judge an activist, it just shows that he is thinking for himself.
Keep your religion out of our constitution, and reject Amendment 43.
On to Referendum I. This proposal would change the Colorado statutes (not the constitution) to create a new legal relationship for same-sex couples, called a domestic partnership. The members of this couple would be afforded most of the 100 or so rights and responsibilities accorded to married couples by Colorado law. It would not, however, provide any of the 1000 or so rights and responsibilities available to married couples by the federal government.
According to my rough calculation, this means that if this law passes the value of gays will be increased to about 10% of straights. Of course, there would still be a long way to go to even get to the 3/5 of a free man valuation that was guaranteed to slaves in the original U.S. Constitution.
The only significant argument against this proposal is that it takes the heat off the real issue, which is bringing gays up to 100% -- allowing committed couples to marry if they wish.
Vote for Referendum I.