Of the three measures to ban gay marriages, California's was the most closely watched as the state is the most populous and is perceived as a political and cultural leader.Sadly, the pro-life amendments on the ballot in various states didn't fare so well:
With 96.4 percent of precincts reporting, the California proposition -- which came about half a year after the state's highest court opened the way to gay marriage -- was ahead by more than 4 percentage points.
In San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom initiated gay marriages in City Hall and launched the legal battle resulting in recognition of same-sex unions, Obama's victory and message of change consoled proposition opponents.
"We have Obama," Noelle Skool, 29, said as she checked identification at a popular lesbian bar in San Francisco's Mission district. "It's small steps. Eventually they'll warm up to the fact that, hey, we're all equal."
Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred said she planned a lawsuit to challenge California's new gay-marriage ban on behalf of two lesbian clients involved in the earlier suit that reached the California Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, in one of the most emotionally-fought U.S. social issues, abortion rights advocates declared victory in two states.There's probably going to be a lot of analysis over this: why was gay marriage defeated, while pro-life measures were also defeated? Why did assisted suicide pass in Washington? What does it mean that traditional marriage was defended, while other traditional and life-affirming measures went down in defeat?
Colorado voters rejected a measure that would have made abortion the legal equivalent of murder by defining human life as beginning at conception.
South Dakota defeated a ban on abortion that, if passed, had been expected to spark a court battle leading to the Supreme Court.
"We defeated it here, and it won't spread to other states," said Sarah Stoesz, president of the local Planned Parenthood chapter. "And now we've started a counter movement in a very conservative part of the country."
In other state ballots, Michigan voted to allow medical use of marijuana, Nebraska ended affirmative action, or policies to help minorities, and Washington voted to allow doctor-assisted suicide.
Sadly, I think it just illustrates that relativism is the underpinning of our national philosophy.
There isn't a coherent idea of what is right and what is wrong beneath two such dissimilar actions on two similar (from the moral perspective) questions. The only coherent reason to oppose gay marriage is that one recognizes that is profoundly and fundamentally wrong to redefine an institution almost as old as humanity itself to extend in ways and to people who were never described by it; the only coherent reason to oppose abortion and assisted suicide is because one recognizes that it is profoundly and fundamentally wrong to kill innocent human beings. They are radically linked, these two questions, and the answers to them are going to define who we are, what it means to be a twenty-first century American, whether we are still swayed in any way by the moral traditions and understandings of countless generations before us, or whether we have thrown all of that away and are deliberately seeking new definitions of our foundational relationships that depend on nothing more than what it is materially convenient for us to believe at any given moment.
I don't think the rejection of the one set of questions and the acceptance of the others means that Americans have become so self-aware that they seek formally and deliberately to redefine their relationship to the universe, to their historical ancestry, or to anything else, for that matter; I think all it means is that Americans have now elevated momentary subjective "feelings" to the level of rational thought, and use nothing more than this to guide them when they are asked to weigh in on questions of such awful import.
So enough Americans still "feel" that there is something a bit off about same-sex marriages to vote accordingly, while some of these same Americans "feel" that abortion is more or less a good idea, or "feel" that they don't want to be the ones restricting it, and so forth. Of course there are people who are opposed on principle to both, and their efforts and contributions to preventing same-sex marriage and protecting the unborn should never be overlooked; but we couldn't have the results we do, of prevention of gay marriage but failure to protect the unborn, without a lot of people voting not on principle, but on how they feel about it all, on what feels right to them at this given moment.
I know that liberals encourage this kind of thinking--or feeling--because they believe that more often than not they will be able to encourage the correct sort of feeling that will result in people voting the way the liberals want them to. Yesterday's results, though, show that this is by no means the case; people's feelings are capricious and unreliable, and while the Left has had decades now to make people "feel" happy about abortion, they haven't had as much time to create the correct sort of "feeling" about same-sex marriage.
But if your philosophy is relativism, and you sincerely believe that everyone's "truth" is equally valid, then how can you possibly complain when some people's truth isn't what yours is? Isn't the feeling that we'd rather not have same-sex marriage just as valid as the feeling that it ought to be allowed? How can you elevate one feeling to a level of greater importance than another?
You can't--you can only unilaterally impose your will and force everyone else to accept it, with greater and greater use of force to do so. That's when the illusion that relativism is willing to accept all ideas equally dissolves into the mush that it really is, and when the pope's phrase, "the dictatorship of relativism," illuminates the truth about what relativism will always eventually become.