Here he is explaining why he thinks the two issues are the same:
But what did Proposition 8 do again? That's right, according to the official language of the initiative it "ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY." But if marriage didn't include same-sex unions, that sentence would be gibberish as would the actual text of the amendment: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Since both are grammatically and syntactically coherent, marriage must definitionally include same-sex unions. The statement of Prop. 8 clearly implies that marriages other than those between a man and a woman exist, but are not valid or recognized in California. Just as Virginia did not recognize marriages between opposite races before 1967, and California did not until 1948.Well, first of all, the language put on the ballot was written by pro-same-sex marriage Attorney General Jerry Brown. That's right: the guy the late Mike Royco dubbed "Gov. Moonbeam." I can't believe I left California in 1986 and the guy still somehow gets elected to public office. Brown changed the wording from the original ballot language to make it harder to vote for. One survey found Brown's language cost it three percentage points in support, and he was sued by proposition proponents over his little shenanigan. A "right"? Who wants to vote against a "right"? In fact, given Brown's language, it is amazing it passed at all.
A lot of people don't understand how amendment ratification works. A bill is drafted with the actual constitutional language and state legislators approve or disapprove it. In Kentucky, you also have to include in the bill the language that is to appear on the ballot. Often the fight is over how the ballot language is phrased, since the ballot language can hold the fate of the amendment all by itself regardless of what the amendment actually says. How it is in California, I don't know, but apparently the process is more lax if it allows someone to change it on the way to the ballot the way Brown did.
The language of the ballot language of Proposition 8 doesn't bear on the meaning of marriage at all. The only thing it indicates is the political cleverness of Jerry Brown. So let's look at Rosenau's argument about the actual language of the amendent: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
He argues that that language no more betrays a sense that the definition of the word 'marriage' is in question than the language of the Virginia law against interracial marriage betrayed it, as I said it did.
My argument was, that if the definition of the term 'marriage' excluded two people of different races from cohabiting using the label 'married', then it would be redundant to say that they shouldn't be married, since they couldn't be married. But that the law was not redundant, therefore the definition of the term 'marriage' was not already understood as excluding two people of different races from cohabiting using the label 'married'.
In other words, laws against interracial marriage were clearly not about the definition of marriage but it's application (and I don't know of any serious person who would say they were).
My reasoning here is a clear and valid example of what in logic is called a modus tollens:
If P, then QI realize the problem the NCSE has had in recent years in the area of logical reasoning, but unless Rosenau has a problem with basic rules of logic, then he's got to question one of my premises, something he hasn't done yet.
Therefore, not P
In the case of the California language, here's the situation (an entirely different one): If the definition of the term 'marriage' excluded two people of the same sex from cohabiting using the label 'married', then it would be redundant to say that they shouldn't be married, since they couldn't be married. The definition of the term 'marriage' excludes two people of the same sex from cohabiting using the label 'married', since they can't be married, therefore the California law is redundant.
For the logically challenged at the NCSE, that's a modus ponens:
If P, then QI'm not denying that the California law is redundant, even though it is phrased in a similar way to Virginia's. The Virginia law was clearly not redundant, but meant to prohibit something that was already going on (and in fact had commonly gone on throughout history) which met with some new level of societal disapproval in Virginia. The California law had to be passed in order to restate what had always been understood to be the case (that marriage means a relationship between a man and a woman), but that special interests groups were wanting to change--by redefining words instead of passing new laws.
In other words, the language is indeed the same, but in the Virginia case it is clearly not redundant, but in the case of the California language it just as clearly is. Somehow Rosenau sees that as a contradiction when it clearly is not. One is forced to be redundant when language is being attacked by people for their political purposes.
That the amendment stated it in a way that seemed to suggest that marriage didn't have a clear definition already was due to the choice of words by lawmakers, who were having to restate what marriage is.
Now of course in this case, Rosenau and the advocates of same-sex marriage are going to disagree with my minor premise--that the definition of the term 'marriage' excludes two people of the same sex from cohabiting using the label 'married', since they can't be married. And that's fine, but a) they're wrong; and b) Whether or not that premise is true has nothing to do with interracial marriage.