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La Opinión: From Prop. 187 to Prop. 8, Majority Doesn't Always Rule

Posted: Feb 09, 2012

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. However, the court allowed it to remain in effect while the case follows its course of appeals and decisions that until now have opposed banning gay marriage.

From the beginning we considered this a subject that must be seen from a point of view devoid of religious beliefs and traditions. This is even truer when it involves imposing a series of strictly personal values on the rest of society.

Not to mince words: In this case, a majority is deciding what is inappropriate for a minority. Traditional marriage, between a man and a woman, is not in danger because no one wants to change it. But some people are trying to make this the only acceptable option.

Some believe being gay is a sin; they are within their rights to think so. But this is an individual religious value that cannot be imposed on everyone in a diverse society like ours. This is a prejudiced attitude. In many cases, it comes from a lack of understanding about homosexuality and its scientific explanation.

Tuesday's court ruling was clear: A majority may not take away a minority's rights without a legitimate reason. Proposition 8 does just that by establishing a strict definition of marriage, a ban for no other reason than personal distaste. That is not a valid reason.

Therefore, it is frustrating that despite repeated legal rulings against this ballot initiative, the ban is still in effect. This will have to wait for the appeal of Tuesday's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The history of Proposition 187, the 1994 voter-approved measure that punished undocumented immigrants, is another case where having a majority of votes in favor of a proposition does not mean it is automatically legal. That was not the case for Proposition 187, and we think it won't be either for Proposition 8.

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