Nancy Pelosi argues that Californians who voted for Proposition 8 were too dumb to know that a “Yes” vote on Proposition 8 was a vote against gay marriage rather than a vote for it. Somehow, that doesn’t translate into any Californians who voted against 8 having been equally uninformed and assuming that a “No” vote was a vote against gay marriage as opposed to a vote in favor of it. It’s always my side that was enlightened, and your side that was too dumb to know what they were doing, not vice-versa.
In reality, every initiative in California (and by that, I mean every law on which voters are asked to vote “Yes” or “No” on anything, which strictly speaking includes not only voter initiatives but also referenda, constitutional amendments, constitutional revisions and recalls) is heavily biased in favor of “no.” The Meathead Tax on cigarettes passed by a razor-thin 50.5%-49.5% in November, 1998, only to have the measure to repeal it go down in flames less than a year and a half later. One possible explanation is that 21.5% of California’s population changed their minds in 16 months’ time. Another is that 21.5% of the population hated the Meathead tax, but was even more offended by the mere fact that someone was trying to repeal it so soon after it had been passed, and therefore voted against the repeal of the very measure they had previously opposed, just to spite their fellow opponents. A third is that no matter what the issue is, at least 21.5% of the population can be trusted to vote “no” on almost anything.
To test the third hypothesis, let’s take a gander at Proposition 48, a November, 2002 constitutional revision no Californian with an IQ above room temperature should have considered voting against. First, a little background. Four and half years earlier, in June, 1998, Californians had voted 2-1 in favor of another constitutional revision, Proposition 220, which abolished municipal courts. Maybe that was a good idea, maybe it was a great one, maybe it was a crappy one, maybe it was the worst idea since the New Deal. I don’t know. I don’t care. The point is that since June, 1998, it was a done deal. Municipal courts Did. Not. Exist. As a matter of constitutional law, they Could. Not. Exist. without another amendment. So Prop. 48 had zero/zip/nada to do with the question of whether or not to bring back municipal courts. All it meant was, given that municipal courts no longer existed, should Californians update all the sections of the Constitution that they forgot to update in 1998, which continued to reference courts that no longer existed? The people spoke, and the answer was yes, but by a margin of less than 73%-27%, and less than a nine point difference over the substantive amendment that preceded it.
In other words, for every initiative that makes the ballot in California, the “no” crowd gets a built-in 20%+ advantage. With this in mind, it’s no wonder Leno et al. thought it better to pass two patently unconstitutional gay marriage bills that sought to wish Proposition 22 away rather than passing one that repealed it outright. A bill to repeal would have required gay marriage proponents to vote “yes,” and opponents to vote “no.” Exactly what Nancy Pelosi disingenuously claims they thought they were voting on Prop 8. Given that proponents of traditional marriage overcame the “no” advantage to win by a 5% margin, how do you suppose gay marriage would have fared if “yes” and “no” had been reversed, with “yes” meaning “I support gay marriage and “no” meaning “I oppose it?”
Now, at least three lawsuits are pending, all alleging that the constitution is unconstitutional (a not-retarded allegation if they meant that the state constitution violates the federal one, but in fact they are deliberately steering clear of the federal issues as they have in years past). And Attorney General Jerry Moonbeam is arguing that Prop 8 won’t invalidate gay marriages conducted between Gay Juneteenth and November 4, as it merely reads:
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, and no, dumbass, we don’t care when or where such marriage was conducted. WTF part of “valid or recognized” don’t you understand?
The bad news is that when the AG “agrees” that black means white, up means down and “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized” means “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized unless it was conducted between the day Bi-Curious George and three of his associates went apeshit and the next intervening election,” it may be difficult to challenge that position later. The good news is that if you’re a business in California wondering whether or not to treat so-and-so as married, you’re probably better off treating domestic partnerships as marriages, so this distinction won’t matter to you, anyway. The worse news is that California law doesn’t allow anyone to be married and domestic partnered at the same time, so gay couples who were previously domestic partnered, and then became married, may well be neither married nor domestic partnered now. If you fall into this category, my free non-legal advice is to talk to a family law attorney, pronto.