107 YES Protect marriage amendment. If people want gay unions, polygamy, bestiality or whatever, I say let them, but not under government sanction and funding. I'd like to see us return to "holy matrimony" without any government involvement. Getting married for tax breaks is so wrong.But this argument presumes the effect of 107 is to get the government out of the marriage business, which it isn't. Rather, 107 has the effect of enshrining existing statutory prohibitions on a form (or multiple forms) of legal contract between consenting adults into the Constitution, and going further to restrict any such arrangement "similar to" marriage. It isn't pro-liberty, it's anti-liberty. It isn't eliminating special privileges, it is adding them to the Arizona Constitution.
It's perfectly reasonable to argue that nobody should have tax breaks or special privileges under the law, but it's not reasonable to say that because such privileges are wrong we should restrict them to a particular set of people. That's not only unfair, it's unconstitutional--a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. It's like arguing that the government shouldn't confer support on religion, so we should vote yes on an amendment that limits government support to the Christian religion, and keep it from supporting Islam or other religions. (No doubt there are many Americans who would, quite wrongly, support such a law.)
Now, some advocates of Proposition 107 have argued that there is no violation of the equal protection clause because a gay man has the same right to marry a woman as a heterosexual man does. But this is just like arguing that a prohibition on interracial marriage doesn't violate the equal protection clause because a black man has the same right to marry a black woman as a white man has to marry a white woman--the description of the right is being crafted to exclude the category of person who is being discriminated against.
As Ed Brayton has pointed out on numerous occasions, the arguments for the unconstitutionality of a ban on same-sex marriage are of the same form as the arguments for the unconstitutionality of a ban on miscegenation, just replacing "different race" with "same sex." If you think that the Supreme Court ruled correctly in Loving v. Virginia, you should also think that Arizona's Proposition 107 violates the U.S. Constitution for the same reasons.
See also my previous post on the Protect Marriage Arizona amendment. You may also find David Friedman's economic analysis of marriage arrangements to be of interest.
UPDATE (October 21, 2006): Just to make it clear, THeath has enumerated some specific examples of what opponents of gay marriage are actually endorsing (there are several more if you follow the link)--these aren't hypotheticals, these are real people:
- There was the friend I wrote about recently who was turned away from from the emergency room, where his partner had been taken after suddenly collapsing at work, and told he could not be given any information because he was not next of kin. He had to leave the hospital and retrieve their legal documents before he could gain admittance to see his partner when a married spouse would have been waved through without question.
- My friend was luckier than Bill Flanigan. When his partner Robert Daniel was hospitalized in Baltimore, the couple had their legal documents with them, including durable power of attorney and documentation that they were registered as domestic partners in California. But those documents were ignored by hospital staff and Flanigan was kept from seeing his partner until Daniel’s mother and sister arrived and by then Daniel was unconscious, with his eyes taped shut and hooked to a breathing tube; something Daniel had not wanted.
- Even having a will didn’t help Sam Beaumont when his partner of 23 years, Earl, died. Oklahoma requires a will to have two witnesses, but Earl didn’t know that and his will leaving everything to Sam had only one. So Earl's cousins, who disapproved of his relationship and most of whom never spoke to the couple or even came to Earl’s funeral, successfully sued to take away the home and ranch Sam an Earl had shared for 23 years. A married spouse, even in the event of a will lacking enough witnesses, would’ve had the right to automatically inherit at least some of the estate.
Further Update (October 22, 2006): Ed Brayton takes apart the Alliance Defense Fund's white paper on these marriage amendments here.