I was sad to see that Prop 8 (the Californian ballot measure to rewrite the state constitution to ban gay marriage) was passed on Tuesday. I know it’s a big state and more diverse than its liberal image suggests, but you still kind of feel that if California isn’t ready to support gay marriage, it’ll be a long time coming for the rest of the US.
I used to vaguely support the idea of gay marriage as part of a generally liberal view of the world, but after a few online arguments about it I came to the conclusion that if I was suddenly appointed Lord High Dictator of the United Kingdom, it would be one of the first changes I would make on coming into office. Not because I think it’s overwhelmingly important or urgent, but just because it seems like a complete no-brainer. Most political problems are really hard: we all want to improve healthcare and education, reduce crime, help the economy, solve climate change and produce world peace, but it’s not at all obvious how to go about those things.
Allowing gay marriage on the other hand is a really easy decision. Even if you don’t believe it’s a civil rights issue, it just seems like a move with no downside. It’s simple to implement, because all the institutions and laws are already in place for straight marriage, and it makes a lot of people happier without hurting anyone.