Obviously, this is not something with which VoteYesMarriage.com is extraordinarily familiar -- as becomes apparent when one reads the wording of their proposed California marriage amendment.
Take a deep breath.
Only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California, whether contracted in this state or elsewhere. A man is an adult male human being who possesses at least one inherited Y chromosome, and a woman is an adult female human being who does not possess an inherited Y chromosome. Neither the Legislature nor any court, government institution, government agency, initiative statute, local government, or government official shall abolish the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman, or decrease statutory rights, incidents, or employee benefits of marriage shared by one man and one woman, or require private entities to offer or provide rights, incidents, or benefits of marriage to unmarried individuals, or bestow statutory rights, incidents, or employee benefits of marriage on unmarried individuals. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding, from within this state or another jurisdiction, that violates this section is void and unenforceable.
Yes, these people have entirely too much time on their hands. And you read it right; they are out to ban domestic partnerships.
That fact becomes far more apparent in their preamble (emphasis mine):
The People of California have a compelling responsibility to protect the essence of marriage by ensuring that the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman is not redefined, abolished, or diminished. The People find that marriage between one man and one woman is diminished when government decreases statutory rights, incidents, or employee benefits of marriage shared by one man and one woman, or when government requires private entities to offer or provide rights, incidents, or benefits of marriage to unmarried individuals, or when government bestows statutory rights, incidents, or employee benefits of marriage on unmarried individuals.
Now, one could grant some reasonable logic in this, if the point is to say that the incentive to marry is lost when one can get its benefits without taking on the full responsibility of it. Since the commitment and structure of marriage is good for society as a whole, it does provide strong argument that there should be some incentive for couples to enter into it that goes above and beyond what they can access on their own.
However, when applied to abolish California's domestic-partnership law, that argument makes zero sense. Registered domestic partners do in fact have all the same rights and benefits as a spouse under state law, but they also have exactly the same responsibilities -- including the fact that they are subject to divorce law, versus simply being able to dissolve the partnership. Furthermore, all the state laws this group cites as "requiring" this or that for domestic partners apply only to registered domestic partners.
In short, this amendment isn't about the dilution or diminishment of marriage. It's about a tragically-misinformed belief system that has convinced itself that the essence of marriage -- the commitment expressed by two people to spend a lifetime together and in support of each other -- is somehow conferred by government mandate and is somehow lessened when anyone else is allowed anything even remotely similar.
I am of the mind that the gay community, perhaps more than any other, has had the opportunity to demonstrate that the essence of marriage works quite independently of the legalese. And I think it horribly ironic that both sides in this debate -- the "Equality" California versus VoteYesMarriage.com -- are making the same mistake; they confuse that legalese with that essence.