In California, there is the truly distracting and misinformed Prop 8, which, if passed, would outlaw same-sex marriage -- which, you may recall, only recently became available in the state in the first place. (Such a reversal would be even more distressing given that California is one of the few places in the country where same-sex marriage is currently legal.)
The idea of outlawing any kind of marriage -- or, for that matter, outlawing any private, personal ritual engaged in by two or more consenting adults -- is so odd and crazy to me that I dearly hope this initiative is smashed into tiny, irredeemable bits.
I can't help it. To the common, annoying conservative response to the idea of same-sex marriage -- "What's next, marrying animals? Har har!" -- the best I can come up with is "Why not?" In other words, if I'm not immediately involved or affected, why should I care, one way or the other?
Cue John Stuart Mill (who was right about everything, remember):
The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
Give that man a cigar!
Note that Mill's concept of liberty is based on the notion of "harms." He can see no reason why individuals or consenting adults shouldn't be able to do what they want as long as no harm comes to other people or society at large. All I would add is that the harm has to be legit. The problem with opponents of same-sex marriage is that they perceive harms where there simply are none.
Anyone who has spent any time around kids will recognize the dynamic here. When kids start interacting socially, you quickly learn that there are both perceived harms and actual harms. Sure, there are times when kids truly (often physically) interfere in one another's business -- producing actual harm. But often schoolyard or classroom conflagrations erupt because Kid A thinks Kid B made a funny face at him, or called him a name, or what-have-you. Often the offending act never actually took place, or is being misperceived for something else (maybe Kid A is just hungry).
Maturity is at least in part about recognizing and understanding this distinction. Maturity is at least in part about recognizing and understanding when the actions of others have no bearing on your life even if they are not the actions you would choose for yourself.
And now cue the robo-kids shilling for Prop 8:
Cute, huh? My favorite part is this right here:
Based on past experience, those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds will be increasingly labeled as intolerant.
And they shouldn't be so labeled because... why, again?
I mean, what definition of "intolerant" are these folks working with? If discriminating isn't being intolerant, what is?
Or are we really being asked to be tolerant of intolerance?
Strike it down, my ex-state mates!