The "other" two election issues

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 12, 2012, 11:56 PM | comments: 0

In the days following the election, a few people have cheered the presidential results (very few), and many have crying their eyes out. I already talked about how I find both positions to be a little silly, but there were two other issues that several states faced that are very interesting to talk about.

The first is a big one, that being the four states that voted on measures to legally identify same-sex marriage. It's a big deal because all four states approved these issues. A long string of laws and state constitutional amendments have in recent years prohibited same-sex marriage (until of course they're found to be unconstitutional, as many legal scholars believe they will). Why the reversal? A part of it is certainly that a slight majority of Americans are OK with it, so I'm sure that's a part of it.

I've never understood why anyone would care about what two adults want to do in terms of defining their relationship. Some people provide these pseudo-intellectual arguments for it, but they always feel like thinly veiled cases for hating people. What annoys me more is the people who feel that marriage needs to be "defended" against something, as if hoards of card-carrying homosexuals (they do get cards, right?) are going to storm the suburbs destroying marriages with their fairy wands of marital dissolution. I've got news for you, marriage is already destroyed by half of all straight couples. I was one of them. The truth of the matter is that no two people anywhere will change what Diana and I are. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. Problem solved. And if it's the children you're worried about, see what this kid has to say.

The other issue that passed in two states was one legalizing marijuana. While largely symbolic unless federal laws are changed, it's still fascinating. I'll freely admit that the anti-drug message was beaten into me so hard that I used to think legalizing this particular drug was insane. (See what I did there?) I've never used it, and I have no desire to. However, the case against it is a lot weaker than I thought.

I've read several accounts from law enforcement types and judges who are happy to see the ban go. Their first comment is always that the "war on drugs," especially this drug, has a very low return on investment. It's ineffective, and the crime related to the distribution of the drug would simply disappear if it were legal. The case here is that letting people toke up is less of a drain on society and law enforcement resources than trying to stop it.

When you stop to think about it, that might very well be true. There's a secondary argument about how harmful the drug actually is, but I'm not even sure that argument matters in light of the law enforcement trade-off. It seems counterintuitive, but when you compare it to the impact of prohibition, the similarities are stunning.

This is not an issue I take a side on. I reserve the right to not pick one. I don't have enough information to have an opinion, and I don't think most people do beyond "weed is bad." It should be interesting to see how this plays out the next few years.


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