I was deeply disturbed by Zac Gates’ letter to the editor titled “I Voted Yes on Prop 8 and I Am Not Ashamed,” (Daily Nexus, Nov. 14). Gates is entitled to his opinion, but his justifications were fallacious and offensive.
First, he cites Section 297.5 of the California Family Code, which gives the same rights and responsibilities to registered domestic partners as the Family Code gives to spouses. Gates seems to imply that under California law, gay couples can have all of the same marital rights as straight couples, as long as they don’t call their relationship a marriage. In other words, gays can have a relationship that is separate from, but equal to, marriage. Has such little progress really been made since the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case?
Gates also lashes out at judges who overruled 61 percent of voters in 2000. He makes a mistake in assuming that the majority is always right. America’s legal system is designed to allow judges to make informed decisions without having to give in to the popular will. Judges can make unpopular decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, which nullified the “separate but equal” justification of segregation, or Loving v. Virginia, which overturned a Virginia law banning interracial marriage.
Sometimes voters make heinous mistakes based on prejudice and bigotry, sentiments that are clearly present in the mind of anyone who would compare a loving homosexual relationship to bestiality or statutory rape. I am proud that we have a legal system that can protect me from such closed-mindedness.
Fighting Proposition 8 is absolutely about fighting for equality. It is not about “wanting to let the whole world know you are a homosexual,” but rather about fighting for a society in which a gay person can come out without a fear of social shunning, verbal, physical, and sexual assault, or worse.