I actually agree with Arnold on his gay marriage stance. His stance is roughly, CA municipalities can’t go around recognizing gay marriage for the simple reason that it’s against state law. In 2000, CA voters passed Proposition 22, which states that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” If the people want to overturn that, change the law, Arnold’s fine with it. But as long as it is the law, it needs to be upheld.
That makes sense to me. The proposition may or may not be stupid. But regardless of how you feel about it, it’s the law, and if you want to challenge it, you need to do that through proper means. Go through the courts. Maybe practice personal civil disobedience. But municipalities themselves can’t go around ignoring whatever state laws they feel like, not matter how unjust they think they are. That’s just a recipe for chaos.
I came to feel this way partly because of an episode of The Practice years ago. Lara Flynn Boyle was prosecuting this guy who raped and killed a nun. The case against him is fairly clear. But in the course of the proceedings it’s revealed that the key evidence used was obtained by slightly improper means, which means it can’t be used in trial and the case would have to be thrown out. Boyle makes an argument before the judge, that she knows the law and she knows legal precedent, but you (the judge) know what’s right, this man clearly did this and it’s utterly wrong that he should be set free on a technicality so she begs the judge to make a stand against this precedent, against the law, do what’s right.
The judge deliberates for a really long time, but in the end she basically says that courts can’t go around ignoring the law and legal precedent no matter how much they disagree. To do that would lead to legal anarchy. So no matter how strongly she feels about it, she has no choice but to throw out the case. Lara Flynn Boyle cries. And she’s comforted by her roommate, who’s also the murderer’s defense attorney. That last part is ridiculous, but it really was a good episode.
Anyway, it made me think a lot and I 100% agree. The reason we need to follow law and legal precedent is because the alternative is anarchy. I dunno, I think that episode made me realize why the Constitution is held as the utmost standard. I used to think that people thought there was something inherently amazing about it. But it’s not that at all. It’s not a perfect document. That’s why we have the whole amendment system. It’s just, to have order in society, you need some sort of ultimate standard. If you let people do whatever they themselves think is right you’ll just get chaos. You need that ultimate legal standard of the Constitution to have order in society.
I dunno, I think what’s true legally is also true spiritually. Schaeffer talks about this a lot in The God Who Is There. But used to be a time, even if you didn’t agree on what it was, there was a concept of an ultimate standard. Now there’s not. And I think that’s why there’s so much spiritual, moral, even emotional anarchy nowadays. But I dunno.