The fact that San Francisco is currently engaged in granting marriage licenses to gay couples is a news item that has gained widespread attention across the nation.

While I personally support gay marriage, there is a legitimate concern here about whether it is legal or proper for San Francisco to do this. Just as Justice Moore was not permitted to disobey an order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a courthouse, this act of “disobedience” on the part of San Francisco city officials — including the Mayor’s office — may not be legal.

The question may center on the California State Constitution, and whether or not that document permits a city to grant a marriage license to a homosexual couple. You can read a brief here of the case text, but to summarize it briefly:

The relevant section of the State Constitution does not appear to prohibit this activity at the local level. In fact, it is fairly specific in defining the powers apportioned to the state and those apportioned to the local governments (such as city and county).

It can be further argued that San Francisco officials feel compelled to grant these marriage licenses upon request under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and the United States Constitution. For them to refuse has no basis in law and the licensing is not prohibited.

Also, it is argued that opponents cannot show they are irreparably harmed by the granting of marriage licenses to “third parties”. And, from the case argument, “even if plaintiffs had proven some harm to themselves, the public interest and balance of hardships weigh heavily against granting the requested relief” (the “relief” being for the court to prohibit the granting of the marriage licenses).

So. It seems to me that San Francisco is not doing anything illegal, and may in fact be more broadly obeying the law than before.

I find it interesting that so many people are so violently threatened by the idea of gays being able to legally marry. To me the question was always, “Why not?” We live in a country where people nominally have individual freedoms, a country where things are allowed unless specifically and reasonably prohibited. It’s not a police state where everything is forbidden unless otherwise stated.

The actions of some militant gay activists, however repulsive, do not negate the principle of the freedom itself. Plenty of straight people are repulsive with their displays of sexuality, divorce, infidelity, promiscuity, and so on. We do not deny their right to marry, as a general principle.

Curiously, polls seem to show that while the majority of Americans disapprove of gay marriage, they also disapprove of making it illegal. This reveals a distinction between cultural standards and legal freedoms.

Everybody needs to take a chill pill, go smoke some pot at the Oakland Cannabis Buyer’s Club, and just relax.

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