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Just in passing.. I was watching X-Men 2 (of all things) the other day, which I had recorded off the TV a few months back.. Anyway, I'm too lazy to stop playback after what I'm watching finishes, so it then went into a news segment after the end credits. The top item was about Ellen marrying Portia de Rossi back in.. July was it? I dunno..

Anyway, in light of the whole Proposition 8 thing, it just made me kind of sad.. Because everybody they spoke to about the wedding itself was talking about how great love is, and what a happy occasion it was, and there was just this sense of real warmth and happiness coming off the whole thing.

The idea that a bunch of intolerance religious bigots could impose their narrow-minded and selfish definitions of "marriage" onto another group and take that happiness away is actually staggering. Marriage doesn't belong to them, so it just seems insane that they would seek to punish a group with whom they disagree by trying to take away from them something that they have no real right to reclaim.

It amuses me a little (in a twisted way) that America, in which separation of church and state is meant to be enshrined in their constitution, and which was actually born from religious intolerance is actually one of the most intolerant and religion-driven developed nations out there. The power that religious elements exert over not just setting the agenda, but actually pushing through legislation, is frightening. So in a way, I thank God for living in a country where God doesn't try to persecute minorities through majority intolerance. It's kind of nice..
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So, the UK has gay marriage then?

I thought you only had civil unions?

We do only have civil unions, but I feel happy that at least we didn't give something, then take it away..

Some of the ballot propositions were truly scary - the Florida one, I believe, basically made it unconstitutional to even create civil unions, since they banned anything that was the equivalent of marriage, rather than just use of the word itself or anything like that. Nasty stuff..

I also believe quite strongly that if we were to introduce gay marriage here in spite of existing resistance to the idea, there would be insufficient pressure to actually reverse that. Sure, there are those who wouldn't like it, but I doubt it could be taken away after implementation. I think you have to be a special kind of bastard to want to do that..

Ahh. Have you always had same sex civil unions, or is that something relatively new?

What is preventing the UK from enacting full gay marriage vice civil unions?

And another point - the current debate in California was precipitated by their supreme court which overturned a previous legislative ban on same-sex marriage. The same is true in Massachusetts, Vermont, and a number of other states. What recourse to the citizens of the UK have if the majority there passes a law which is unfair to a minority? You don't have a supreme court, do you?

Only since 2004 - the only real way in which they differ from "gay marriage" is in the name - all legal rights are the same.. As such, while there's some demand for "full gay marriage", in practice it wouldn't actually give anyone any additional rights, so there's not that much point..

We have a High Court, but I don't think it overturns laws as such, it just interprets the law.. We don't have a written constitution, so we don't need a judicial body that strikes down unconstitutional laws, if you see what I mean..

As such, if our government did decide to enact a law that was unfair to a minority, then there wouldn't be much of a way to fix that really.. However, the way our government works, that's quite unlikely.. We don't have much interference from special interest groups and lobbying and all those other fun things that tend to affect the agenda of politicians in the US... And without a strong religious movement in this country, there's no risk of criminalising abortion or banning same sex unions or anything like that..

In fact, a lot of the time politicians will go against the majority for the sake of being "better" than that. Many polls suggest that a majority of Britons support the reintroduction of capital punishment, but no mainstream political party will even entertain that right now. The politicians understand that it's not actually up to the people what they do or don't do - the people choose somebody to make decisions on their behalf, and so they try to make the best decisions, if not always the most popular decisions. A lot of the whole mob mentality that the general public manages to get itself into is generally ignored.

Of course, this works the other way too - the government entirely ignored opposition to the Iraq War, and chose what they thought was the "right" option over the "popular" option. While that ran contrary to my own beliefs, part of me says that at the time the government were the only people who really knew what the situation was with Iraq, and if they felt strongly enough about it that they would go to war without public support because they believed it was right, then that was something to respect.

I don't trust the general public in direct democracy. I do generally trust politicians to be more informed on issues, and to take a more pragmatic and thought-out approach than the public usually does. Which is why I don't really mind our particular form of representative democracy.

Prop 8 truly is sad. I liked what one person I read said about it, something to the effect that it was completely wrong to even put it on a ballot in the first place. Voting for people's basic civil rights? WTF? She also alluded to the idea that if we had put abolition of slavery to a vote and waited 'til that passed, we'd live in a very different America right now. One where Obama would not be president-elect.

Living in the South, I deal with that religious imposition even more than the rest of the country. Earlier this week, at a Veteran's Day ceremony held BY the school FOR the benefit of the students, a student was allowed to give a two-minute-long prayer invocation. And I'm not talking about a short, indiscriminate blessing. It was a "Hallelujia, praise the Lord" type prayer. And, of course, no one will say shit about it. The principal has a Christian band come in and play every Wednesday morning in the commons area of the school, and I overheard one of our other administrators talking with another teacher shortly before the election about how they were studying in their Sunday school class, at their CHURCH, about why Obama could be the Antichrist. The frickin' Antichrist!

I just hope the rest of the world can recognize that we're not ALL like that over here.

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