As we reported yesterday, a careful reading of the California Supreme Court's decision on Proposition 8 suggests the opponents of gay marriage may have won little except the right to say they won.
The Rev. Richard E. Helmer writes:
Prop 8 supporters knew a direct attack on rights and privileges of couples would never fly in the polls -- even less so in the courtroom. So they settled for the idol of the term, "marriage," but without real substance, save perhaps social recognition. ... Prop 8 supporters may cheer over their "pound of flesh" and the slowly separating pottage they have unwittingly wrought with no fewer than three legal classes of protected couples in California: those "straight" and married, same-sex couples married between the last court decision and the passage of Prop 8, and those receiving rights and privileges under domestic partnership laws.It's not clear that the proposition even as narrowly construed will hold if legal firepower has anything to do with it: In other Prop 8 news, Bush v Gore opponents Ted Olson (also Solicitor General under George W. Bush) and David Boies have filed a lawsuit in US district court to protest Prop 8. More here. Others who favor gay marriage say the suit is premature and say they would prefer working through the state legislature and directly with the voters of California.
But the cheers ring hollow, because the "pound of flesh" is less substantive than a mere ghost of definition under law. It has no tangible substance in California except a social projection without distinction of rights and privileges. . .A dumb idol, legally speaking, and perhaps morally and spiritually, too.
The hollow case has become the hollow definition.
Don’t look now, but Prop 8 supporters, for all of their money and efforts, have secured a Pyrrhic victory.