The Debate on Proposition 8


Proposition 8 regulates marriage relations between same-sex couples and prohibits same-sex marriages. In other states, obtaining gratitude for same-sex marriages is only one of a series of powerfully contested issues that have arisen since the U.S. Same-sex marriages movement rose in the intense political climate of the 1990s. Today, the political implications of same-sex marriage do not concern the perceptions of others. Same-sex marriage stipulates the citizenship of homosexuals themselves and their rights (Woog 71). Through a lawful disability created by the California authorities’ denial of a legal framework for committed same-sex relations, the government produces homosexuals as a peculiar class of second-class citizens. Constitutionally these men have the same rights as other citizens and should be protected by the state from negative social image and violation of rights. Proposition 8 violates the rights of homosexual men and women and their freedoms.

Approaches to recognizing same-sex marriage

In the case of same-sex marriage is recognized formally, that institution will ever after stand for individual choice. The most forceful critics of same-sex marriage are religious leaders. In California itself, leaders of many religions have been at the forefront of the pro-marriage campaign. And whereas most progressive national groups have yet to take a strong stand in favor of same-sex marriage rights, religious groups have been faster on the draw. Both the Reform branches of Judaism have now formally endorsed same-sex marriage, as have many Quaker and Buddhist denominations and many Protestant congregations, Episcopal bishops and high-ranking clerics of many faiths. Sexual liberation is a factor that had a great influence on the national idea during the XX century (Kurtz 1). Some people paid particular attention to the role of sexual relations and sexual freedom in the community and their role in the formation of self and universal order. Every commitment, to job, spouse, community, religion–must be invented from the inside out. Making homosexual men and women more visible legally will insist that there is no traditional escape: that our society survives not by rote but by heart. And since many have already taken efforts to ban recognition, it now seems likely that a small but significant core of states will allow them to stand. It does not seem unlikely that within two years there will be lawfully married same-sex couples in a handful of states across the USA. If this certainly comes to pass, it is hard to overstate its significance for same-sex married couples, for the civil rights movement, for all people who favor a modern understanding of the definition of family. It would surely amount to the solitary victory in all of the same-sex couples rights, the dividing event in which same-sex relations and the loving and committed relations spawns lastly began to take their place as recognized and fully legitimate (Kurtz 1).

Politically, the California Supreme Court has also sided against gender discrimination. It ruled that same-sex relations are no reason for disqualifying a schoolteacher (an outlook not shared by many parents and school administrations who regard homosexuals as a bad influence, regardless of their qualifications as teachers). “Around 70 percent of the African-American voters who overwhelmingly backed Mr. Obama also approved Proposition 8, helping pass the controversial ballot measure despite a small majority of whites voting against the ban on same-sex unions. Hispanic and Asian voters were split on the issue” (Moore 2008). Despite the pockets of awareness that the homosexual has rights as a human being — rights to respect, justice and everything that heterosexuals take for granted — the homosexual man or woman is probably still, in the words of Michael Brown, founder of the same-sex Liberation Front, a member of the most persecuted, harassed minority group in history. Some of this harassment is based on the fear of many parents and psychologists that too much emphasis on the issue might adversely affect the very young whose sexual identities have not yet fully developed. Reinforcing appropriate sexual traits, as suggested earlier, is important for healthy, normal emotional growth (Woog 71).

Influence of stereotypes

It is important to recognize that much of the negative feeling aimed at homosexuals is grounded in myths and misconceptions, in strong definitions of “normal” and “abnormal,” and in morality that stretches back to the days when humans first began keeping records (Wilson 34). If insinuations and charges that homosexuals are all sinners or criminals can begin to be ignored, we can move on to dispelling some of the other stereotypes about this group of men and women. The first one you ought to forget is that male homosexuals are all painted and perfumed “swishy” dancers with feminine voices and that lesbians are aggressive females who always wear pants and speak in gruff tones. Remember that how people dress and sound, or the sort of work they do, are not always good indicators of what they’re like. Soldiers, professional football players and policemen can be homosexual. So, too, are some very feminine-appearing women. From a historical perspective, same-sex relations should be focused on trying to twist some tolerance from the normal than on dreaming of achieving legality for forbidden relationships (Woog 43).

The Criticism of the Proposition 8

The opponents of the reform and proposition suggest that the prohibition of same-sex marriages will violate the rights of individuals and their freedoms. Homosexual men and women have been recognized since the dawn of history; that should have been long enough to soften its shock (Smith 92). But that’s not the way it is, and it may well be that society will never accept it, no matter how many homosexuals come out, or how many homosexuals rallies and marches are held. It is important to understand that homosexuals do not fit one stereotype, one mold and that they do not all become homosexuals for the same reasons. They are as different in their attitudes toward sex as any group of heterosexuals are. Some are promiscuous, and the rate of venereal disease among homosexuals who have numerous sex partners is high. But we cannot ignore the fact that most homosexuals want just what most of us want: warm relationships, someone special who cares, an opportunity to live and work as they choose, understanding. It is good for us to remember that while we might argue that homosexuality is wrong, or not for us, our criticism ought to focus on the condition, not on condemning the person who is caught up in it (Wilson 45).

Gender-based marriage laws have a different type of productive effect on those who resist their terms, who forgo marriage rather than allow the state to take over their bodies, their psyches, and their emotional lives. These resisters will often be homosexuals who are sexually oriented toward others of the same gender. When such people resist stereotyped gender roles by pursuing a homosexual relationship involving meaningful intimacy, the state denies them the means for making a legally binding commitment in that relationship. In this way, the law produces and imposes another stereotyped identity: the identity of the isolated and outcast “homosexual,” whose deviant sexuality is incompatible with committed familial relationships (Smith 76).

The struggle for the rights

The same-sex marriage movement coincided with the civil rights movement and became a part of it. In the early 1990s, homosexuals have challenged the legal restriction of marriage to men, though none of these earlier efforts received serious judicial attention. While the state arguments and solutions raised in Proposition 8 have mixed, the critical commentaries and disapproval to them have ranged from bafflement to outrage (Woog 72). As other same-sex issues have achieved prominence, and possibly particularly as the sexually transmitted disease epidemic has brought many same-sex couples face-to-face with the same-sex group of people and same sec individuals for perhaps the first time, confirmation of marriage has emerged as the shocking demand of the 1990s (Smith 54).

Today, there are not legally granted rights for homosexual men and women in America which allow them to marry another man and receive a marriage license. In general, the right to same-sex marriage should be pursued as a political strategy to attain general equality for homosexual men and women. Family is thought to be so privileged in society that participation in it would legitimate all same-sex partnerships and the individuals who prefer them (Proposition 8: Propositions and Cases 2008). Under the present-day conception, the state’s recognition and regulation of marriage do not privilege this institution but merely makes it available to those who wish to structure their relationships following it. Ideally, the benefits and disadvantages associated with marriage reflect the differences between the situation of a legally couple and the situations of couples and individuals without such legal commitment. Many quarters of American society still view marriage as blessed and noble. Unfortunately, same-sex couples must reckon with the possibility that the recognition of their right to marry may lower the status of marriage as much as it raises the status of homosexuals (Woog, 65).

Mismatching gender roles

An emphasis of that sort is known as misdirected gender orientation. You probably know it as sexism or chauvinism, and it is the sort of thing that has led to all of the injustices women have been subjected to, on the job and in their social lives. It is also what conditions a man not to show tenderness in public. The proper reinforcement of gender traits means reminding boys and girls that they are males and females, similar in feelings and desires and abilities, yet different in significant biological ways and roles. (We cannot take the time here to discuss the differences between men and women. The subject is debated continually by behavioral scientists, and while the physical differences are fairly obvious, the psychological ones, when they exist, are not always. Suffice it to say that the potential for being a mother or a father, the unique nature of the sex hormones, and how much we imitate our fathers and mothers, or are encouraged to do so, all play a major part in making us behave in the ways that are special to our sex (Woog 79).

Modern society does not live in a neuter world, no matter what some hair stylists, clothing designers and other sex-erasers would have us believe. For underneath the jeans and the unisex hair is a man or a woman — although sometimes, as we have said, something goes askew with that sexual identity.) (Proposition 8: Propositions and Cases 2008). Taking into account ethical arguments it is possible to agree that homosexual unions are also less likely to fulfill reproductive social interests than heterosexual unions. Opponents of same-sex marriages suppose that legalizing same-sex marriage would foster the creation of a new class of disadvantaged children, produced by medically assisted procreative techniques and intended to be born as part or full orphans and reared without both a mom and dad. Legalizing same-sex marriage would sanction, and therefore increase, rearing of children without mothers (Wilson, 43).

The problem is that same-sex partnership offers limited legal protections to same-sex couples without seeking absolute to make legal their unions; registration as legal partners is not in most cases limited to same-sex couples, but is also offered in some jurisdictions to straight spouses who do not wish to marry but want some sort of legal recognition of their situations (Proposition 8: Propositions and Cases 2008). Critics suppose that discrimination against same-sex couples is most marked when a same-sex couple decides to live together and that the alternative to form a shared household is thus a brave stand against prejudice. In everyday life, same sex activists admit that family is a multifaceted institution that must be understood in all its multiple and situated meanings before an attack is mounted against it; in couching her disagreement in this nuanced understanding, Woog (22) echoes the views of those who have attested to the enduring and multifaceted meanings of family for many same sec couples, particularly for those with roots in communities of color. Proposition 8 vividly portrays that the same sec marriage movement retains a powerful antipathy to “heterosexist norms,” especially the straitjacket of enforced gender roles and partnerships, in favor of a more fluid vision of personal and sexual freedom. Indeed, many same-sex idealists don’t want to join mainstream culture so much as have mainstream culture join them. During the eighties, the tension between the radical and opposite camps argues around the marriage issue (Woog 63).

The legalization of same-sex marriage would amount to a pivotal event in the present-day struggle. If it occurs without the enthusiastic support and involvement of major same-sex partnerships and civil rights groups, it would also amount to one of the most breathtaking lapses of organizational vision in the history of the modern left. The necessity of marriage is evident because marriage (and same-sex couples marriage as well) is an institution that supports the community, defines how individuals about one another, formalizes contact with same-sex families, neighborhoods, employers, insurers, hospitals, stage institutions. The major problem is that community cannot change these people, but it must help them to socialize and adapt to social institutions (Woog 82).


In sum, Proposition 8 regulates relations between homosexual men but it does not resolve the problem of these social groups and rejects their rights and freedoms granted by the constitution. The possible solution for this problem is to allow same-sex couples to marry and receive a license as an official reorganization of their union. It is possible to agree with activists who suppose that same-sex marriage is a fundamental challenge to the status quo. When the state withholds law, it acts on people’s lives in an entirely different way than when it withholds funding. There are practical benefits of same-sex marriage: the ability to share insurance and pension benefits, care for our ill partners, inherit automatically, protect our children from desperate custody battles. Surprisingly, proponents of such a radical social reordering as redefining marriage to include same-sex couples have offered virtually no evidence of the social benefits of that proposed social reform. Individual freedom means much more than the absence of physical coercion but an equal social status and sexual liberation. The same-sex marriage movement should become an independent movement aimed to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Since so much has been written in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, the absence of substantial credible evidence of social benefit stands out in stark contrast to the abundance of passion and intensity offered. Because advocates of same-sex marriage should carry the burden of proof to justify the proposed legal reform, the paucity of evidence is a serious failing in their campaign to persuade men and women of reason. Same-sex couples should have the right to marry because the constitution is aimed to protect the social and sexual rights of all people and all citizens of the USA.


Kurtz, Stanley N. What Is Wrong with Gay Marriage. Commentary, Vol. 110, 2000, p. 1.

Moore, M. Barack Obama may have helped California Proposition 8 gay marriage ban pass. Telegraph. 2008.

Proposition 8. Propositions and Cases. Web.

Smith, George P. Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century.

Praeger Publishers. Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1998.

Wilson, James Q. Against Homosexual Marriage, Commentary, Vol. 101, 1996, p. 34.

Woog. D. Friends & Family: True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies. Alyson Publications, 1999.

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