Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boy Scouts, Legal Trials, and Class Presentations

-envelope to head-

"Name 3 things that require you to Be Prepared."

(that's a Johnny Carson reference for those of you not living inside my brain)

I'm generally the non-political advocate of rational thought and occasional giggling excitement. I usually prefer to leave the political dissent and commentary to Paul.


I noticed a post over at Boing Boing today that caught my eye. There appears to be a hub-ub in the California District courts over an amendment in the California state constitution from 2008. Specifically, it's the California Proposition 8 which outlawed same-sex marriages (same-sex, not just gay) within the state, and which is currently being contested in what is "widely regarded as a landmark case that will reach the supreme court."

While this debate has raged (or sometimes even been rationally discussed) for years, the point that struck my eye is that this is an actual trial. And the fun thing about trials -as opposed to political campaigns- is that you need to have evidence and reason on your side to win. At the very least, one must have A reason as to why one is arguing a certain point. When prohibiting a certain action, one must provide creditable evidence and sound reasoning as to why such a prohibition should be enforced.

Excellent examples of such reasons are: It will kill you if you do it, it will kill other people if you do it, it will cost the government (and hence you) a lot of money if you do it, it will infringe on the rights of other people if you do it.

So lets take a look at an excerpt from the full transcript (available here) to see just what that reason is:

THE COURT: I'm asking you to tell me how it would harm opposite-sex

MR COOPER: All right.

COURT: All right. Let's play on the same playing field for once. Okay.

MR COOPER: Your Honor, my answer is: I don't know.

THE COURT: Does that mean -- does that mean if this is not determined to be subject to rational basis review, you lose?

MR. COOPER: No, your Honor.


MR. COOPER: I don't believe it -- it does.
There's a lot more surrounding this (the best bits you can read here) but that's the short of it. The court asked how same-sex marriages would harm opposite-sex marriages, and Mr. Cooper was unprepared, and arguably unable to give an answer.

The point is, there is no real answer. Staunch traditionalists claim that Marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. However the definition of 'voter' was once 'white land-owning male'. The definition of a safe diving speed was 10 mph, and a surgeon was someone who trimmed your beard and drained a few pints of blood once a week.

As we progress as a society and become more intelligent and capable, we have become more tolerant and generally less cruel, petty and closed-minded.

Indeed there has yet to be stated a rational argument against same-sex marriages, and presumably the continuation of said hub-ub will prove that there does not exist one to be stated.