The goal of interracial marriage bans and legalized segregation was to maintain a subordinate class of citizens based on race. The goal of same-sex marriage bans is to protect traditional marriage, not maintain a subordinate class based on "sexual orientation." One would be hard-pressed to argue that homosexuals in America are second-class citizens.
In one sense, I agree with Barber: The goal of same-sex marriage bans is not to maintain a subordinate class based on sexual orientation per se -- that's a battle today's faux "conservatives" know they've already lost. The real goal is to mobilize bigoted outrage and march said outrage to the polling place on behalf of Republican candidates, while that outrage still exists in sufficient quantity to be profitably so mobilized. Holding the apartheid line for just a little longer is just an incidental lagniappe.
That said, the second-class citizen status of homosexuals is so self-evident that I shouldn't have to document it ... so I'll let one of the commenters at Dean's World do so for me.
How does denying licensure/legality1 to same-sex marriage "protect traditional marriage?" What does it "protect" it from? And why is it entitled to the "protection" of the state?
The Declaration of Independence carefully set forth the purposes of government:
That to secure these rights [Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...
Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence, or in the US Constitution, do I find any holding that a legitimate purpose of government is "to ensure that some people do not voluntarily associate with each other in ways that other people consider unnatural or immoral according to their religious or philosophical beliefs."
Since I'm on a quote streak right now, I'm going to quote my favorite presidential candidate:
There are two sides to marriage, and neither of them are the government's business.
On one side, we have emotional commitment expressed in a ceremony -- usually, though not always, a religious ceremony. On the other, we have a standardized form of legal contract applying to the practical and legal matters arising from that commitment. The maximum extent to which the government of California has any legitimate business in these affairs is in even-handed enforcement of those contracts. Certainly it has no business peering under the clothing of the ceremony's participants, or comparing the genitalia of the parties to the contract.
The history of America. at its best and brightest, has been a history of increasingly equitable access to state protection of the right of contract, the right to own, dispose of and convey property, etc. Over the last two centuries, that access has been extended -- often at the cost of massive social upheaval -- to women and to people of color. And over those two centuries, we've come to the realization that our prior failures in extending that access were, indeed, failures.
We are now in the process of extending that access to people of a minority sexual orientation. It's not surprising that that extension faces opposition, or that it entails some social upheaval, or that the status quo uses demagoguery to exploit that opposition and upheaval to its own benefit.
It isn't even especially surprising to find some of the people who benefit today from those past extensions affiliating themselves with the demagogues -- fighting tooth and nail to deny the next group of second-class citizens upward civic mobility toward full respect for their rights. Not especially surprising ... but sickening.
1. If I get in my car and take off down the road, I'm driving -- whether I have a license or not. Married same-sex couples are married -- whether they have a license or not. As a matter of fact, if you closely inspect most state laws regarding same-sex marriage, you'll find that they forbid public officials from licensing, and clergy from solemnizing, said marriages. In other words, they tacitly acknowledge that same-sex married couples are married ... just illegally married.
Left, right, libertarian ... no one