A century ago, progressives were concerned at the control exerted by wealthy businessmen over the government of California and pushed through the concept of a state referendum which allowed the majority of Californians to exert their voices on legislation. As the years progressed, state “propositions” proliferated and all it required were some energetic groups backed by money to place a proposition on the ballot. In many cases, few people even understood the meaning of propositions, but they exemplified the concept of “democracy.” Last fall, California voters by 52% to 48% declared gay marriages illegal. Today, the California Supreme Court will decide if the 52% voice of the people is stronger than the rights of gays to be married.
Over 18,000 gay couples have married since it became legal in California. If the Supreme Court backs the proposition, it is still unclear as to the status of those who already are married. Perhaps, the voice of the people is not always the best route to freedom. Just remember the 1950s when Senator Joseph McCarthy frightened millions with his claims there were “communists” under every bed and thousands of innocent people lost their jobs.