In 2000 the citizens of California overwhelmingly (61%) voted to affirm the traditional definition of marriage, the common definition of marriage that had prevailed since the founding of the state and the definition that has prevailed until recently in virtually every society around the world. What evolved thereafter was a live and let live solution where domestic partners had de facto civil unions and every right that the state could grant without redefining marriage. Homosexual couples, unlike blacks, prosper economically more than heterosexual couples, and the homosexual lobby is arguably the most powerful force in California politics. The California Supreme Court’s recent 4-3 decision, however, added two additional rights: the right to stigmatize or sue anyone who publicly disagreed with the new legal definition of marriage and right to sue for the new definition of marriage in other states based on the full faith and credit clause of the constitution.
Despite attempts to have it barred from the ballot, Proposition 8 allows the citizens of California the opportunity to re-establish the traditional definition of marriage. The opponents of Proposition 8, however, have defined a yes vote as a vote for intolerance and the state government and media have framed Proposition 8 in a most negative light.
Tolerance, however, runs both directions. The person who ripped off my “Democrats for Proposition 8” bumper sticker was not very tolerant. The people who have stolen Pro Prop 8 yards signs have not shown their tolerance. The people who on blogs assert that opposition to Proposition 8 can only stem from hatred and fail to acknowledge that there can be any legitimate arguments on the other side do not strike me as tolerant.
The latest tactic is to make Proposition 8 a referendum on the Mormon Church, betting that linking Prop 8 to a religious minority is a winning tactic. The tactic may work, but the Latter-day Saints are not alone in opposition Proposition 8. See, for example, this link or this one from the Orthodox Union, which seems a model of reasoned tolerance.