To avoid hypocrisy, California should ban divorce

Proponents of California’s 2008 Proposition 8 claim same-sex marriage violates the sanctity of marriage, and it should be banned to protect the sacred bond between a man and woman.

Those who supported it should follow a new initiative as well – the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act, which would make divorce illegal in the state if both members of the marriage is alive.

“Proposition 8 bravely protected the institution of traditional marriage by making sure that gay people could not participate in it. I loved Proposition 8 but felt it did not go far enough,” said writer John Marcotte, the author of the 2010 initiative, on his Web site

According to census estimations, married gays would account for less than 1 percent of people in California. However, about 10 percent of the state population was divorced last year.

If homosexuals can’t marry for the mere fact of protecting traditional marriage, the larger remainder of the population – heterosexuals – shouldn’t be allowed to leave their marriages because it has a larger effect on the general idea of marriage – the sanctity of marriage.

The Marriage Protection Act is even better than Proposition 8. It would amend the California constitution to ensure that no married person can divorce unless the spouse dies or a rare annulment occurs. Like Proposition 8, it is a feasible ballot initiative that only requires a majority of Californians’ votes to become part of the state constitution.

“After all, (Proposition 8 supporters) weren’t trying to take rights away from gay people. They were just trying to protect traditional marriage,” Marcotte said in an interview with the San Diego News Network. “I’m sure they will support this 100 percent, even if this time it is their rights that get diminished. It would be hypocritical for them not to support us.”

Besides limiting hypocrisy, the Marriage Protection Act is also expected to curb the cash-strapped state’s expenses. According to California’s Legislative Analyst’s office, the amendment could save the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars every year by eliminating divorce proceedings.

The divorce fees that couples pay to the state are far less than the court’s administrative costs, so the government loses money on them. As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to balance California’s budget, the bottom-line savings from the act will help reduce a devastating deficit.

According to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s Web site, Marcotte’s volunteer-based grassroots initiative requires around 694,000 signatures by late March 2010 to qualify for the voting ballot, and it has high hopes since it was approved for circulation Friday. The Marriage Protection Act is making waves.

Proposition 8 supporters were filled with vehement conviction in their defense of traditional marriage. Last year, this same passion drove Floridians to ban gay marriage. Now, it only seems fitting this fight continues against divorce.

Neil Manimala is a junior majoring in biomedical sciences.