I have to give Prop 8 activists some credit: they managed to become more politically savvy than most Californians; and because their faith-based rage has reached epic proportion, they confronted apathic liberals in their own sunshine state with their own power tool – democracy. It’s beautiful. No, really, it is. There’s nothing better than an inside job. I’m in awe – but I’m also in shock.

Democracy means by the people, for the people – so what could be more democratic than the use of the referendum? A direct popular consultation is always the best way to ensure whatever law/bill/decree is being polled obtains the legitimacy it should always have. Granted, representative democracy is easier, faster and cheaper, but considering the level of dissatisfaction with politicians, Prop 8 activists made sure than they solidified their demands: if Proposition 8 won, they would no longer be marginalized, isolated, mocked and shunned extremists living in forest cabins and drinking water from a well. They would become an integrated part of the American population, using legal tools to express themselves and to become part of the system. The Prop 8 story is so good, it makes Hitler’s perfectly legitimate election look a little bit dull. They could have carried on lobbying with stupid, intelligent design-inspired slogans by the White House and preach at bus stops, but instead, they used their enemies’ tool: majority votes. It’s solid. It works.

On the other hand, there is pretty much a consensus among liberals that the very text submitting Proposition 8 on the California ballot was unconstitutional. Refusing gay marriage on faith-based criterias would simply be a violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, and should have therefore been denied. But Prop8 appeared on the ballot anyway. How so? The process – that allows the public to create state laws or amend a State’s Constitution – is called initiative. It’s extremely easy: the group has to write up the proposition as a petition, and submit it to the Attorney General along with a submission fee (more or less $200 depending on the state). This is far from being a consequential sum to rise, especially if the group is already constituted of more than ten members. The hardest part is to gather enough signatures to make the proposition valid – in California, a proposition must obtain the signatures of at least 5% of registered voters, which are later sent to the Secretary of State for validation.

Your local fourth graders could do this, provided they can spell, organize a bake sale for fundraising and have a little door-to-door activity on Sundays. Bless you, Democracy.

Because the Attorney General failed to recognize Proposition 8 as a constitutional violation and the Secretary of State probably left his daunting task up to an intern that day, it landed on the California ballot on the same day as the Presidential election on November 4th, 2008. I would be more than happy to go into a rant about how ignorant people are only the product of their uneducated environment and the school system has been failing over two generations, but it becomes increasingly hard to blame the population for their lack of information when even their state officials are sleeping on the job / are functionally illiterate / on crack / placing bets on how many times can the US Constitution be ignored to the point it’s hardly relevant anymore. I would even go as far as saying it’s a little pointless to blame state officials when even the White House is dragging the Constitution into the dirt on a daily basis. The Bush Administration created a standard for lawlessness which I am afraid can only be matched by our European equivalent of faggotry, Silvio “Darth Vader” Berlusconi.

So, here’s the deal – on one hand, you have the United States Constitution, supposedly the text against which all laws, bills, decrees, amendments must be measured, the ultimate, supreme founding text (and no, I won’t draw a Kelsen pyramid on MSPaint). On the other hand, you have a proposition submitted by the people (as in “we, the people”) and legally, democratically passed through a referendum process (as in “by the people, for the people”). If one wants to be a hardcore technical jurist, it would be easy to petition the Supreme Court in order to nullify Proposition 8 on grounds on unconstitutionality. But when you think about it, a conflict of legitimacy arises -after all, the people hath spoketh, and the people should reign supreme on the laws being made in a democratic country. Yes, those laws are discriminatory. Yes, they go against the principle of equality. Yes, the question of marriage and its hypothetical restriction to a man and a woman are based on religious beliefs that are not supposed to intervene within the domain of the law. But what if this is what the people want? If one follows this logic… the people can amend the United States Constitution in order to ensure that this secularity no longer prevails, and there goes the amendment that turns everything around.

Well see, I happen to have issues with democracy – this so-called democracy we love when it comes to invading other countries, but hate when the results of the election don’t go our way (I’m talking to you, Dubya). Keep in mind there isn’t just “democracy”, there are “democracies”, as every country seems to have slightly bended some rules in order to fit their own cultural customs; but the jist remains the same. The people are in control, and the government is an executive tool serving the people’s needs (ah, if only…) Everyone gets their chance to speak and voice their opinion during there collective moments of blissful freedom that are elections, and see, I don’t think everyone should have the right to voice their opinion. Call me a fascist, I just think that ignorance is a no-go. Why would we want an ignorant majority to impose their hateful, segregationist belief on a minority that simply just wants to enjoy the fundamental human right that is citizen equality? Back in the 18th century, voters needed to pay or show proof of home ownership to be allowed to registered. Financial and social access to democracy was plain stupid and certainly did not warrant legitimacy. However, a certain level of logic, commitment and education should be required before being allowed to vote. For instance, using faith over fact should definitely be a clue that you should move to the left. Seriously.

I may be taking an extreme position on the topic, but think about it – Thomas Jefferson, who’s probably weeping in his grave as we speak, wrote a pamphlet in which he expresses that the wish for his new nation was for the minority to always be protected from a potentially harmful majority; that the system they created should protect the rights of the minority in case those rights were to be taken away. Constitutional amendments are supposed to create rights, expand civil liberties, move freedom forward – not limit the vision, narrow the view, and discard an entire segment of the population under the pretext that your feelings are more important than theirs. Yes, living in a democratic society implies a considerable level of compromise – but I’ve never heard of any gay movement fighting tooth and nail for religious leaders to be stripped down of their civic rights, for religious families to be torn apart under the pretext they were not good for their kids, or to be beaten up and raped because … because they were being themselves. In that situation, the people has spoken, the people passed their initiative – but the people were wrong, and the law’s duty should have been to anticipate that rise in discriminative behaviour. It didn’t. Now that Prop 8 activists are seeking to implement the retroactivity of the bill – which would nullify all gay marriages pronounced in California – it is time for the Attorney General and for the Supreme Court of California to reinstate their role as guardians of the Constitution and protectors of the minority. A minority that only wanted to fall in love, get married, and raise a little bunch of future taxpayers.

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