Vote No on California Proposition 8

Donate to protect gay marriage in California. Need persuading?

Okay folks, here's the deal. You know I'm a big fan of Obama. I have in the past mentioned that, if you feel like it, you could donate to his campaign. But now with Barack holding a sizeable lead in all available polls measuring both national support and likely electoral votes, it's time to focus on an issue closer to home: California's Proposition 8. Here's what Proposition 8 says, but the clue is in the title: it's titled Eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry (after the attorney general heroically changed the title from "defence of marriage"):

Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.

California legalized gay marriage on May 15th of this year, after the state supreme court struck down various bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, in the same way that bans on interracial marriage were. Since then thousands of happy couples have tied the knot, including friends of mine and various celebrities.

There is only one argument against gay marriage that I recognize as being valid, which is that marriage is a Christian institution, and if the Christians say it's between a man and a woman then we shouldn't be able to change it. But marriage is also a complex set of legal rights that have been baked into the laws of the state, and they are granted equally to Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists. So unless you're taking all of their marriages away -- and it would be hilarious to watch you try -- you haven't got a leg to stand on.

All the other arguments go the other way. Eliminating marriage for gay people is deeply illiberal, unequal and unfair idea in a country that values freedom, fairness and equality above practically everything else. The ideas of separate-but-equal institutions have been tried and failed with interracial marriages statutes, which are now looked back upon with embarrassment. Voting to end gay marriage in 2008 is like voting to end interracial marriage in 1948.

Unfortunately the Christian right has got involved, especially the Mormons, who themselves claim to be fully one-third of all the donors to the pro-8 campaign. A lot of these donors are not even from California; they're just out of state bigots.

Marriage is a right, my right, one that I very deeply wish to one day be able to exercise. So I am not hinting, not suggesting, I am begging, pleading, demanding that you vote no on proposition 8 if you live in California and donate to the stop 8 campaign if you're a voter anywhere else in the USA.