The first paragraph of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics reads as follows: “As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.”
These are noble ideals, but here in Los Angeles we have seen once again that noble ideals can be trumped by the demands of politics, which are often not so noble.
Witness the furor that has erupted following the November 4 passage of California’s Proposition 8, a referendum that amended the state’s constitution so as to read that “[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” In approving the proposition, the voters of California affirmed the meaning of marriage as it had been understood for millennia until May of this year, when four members of the California Supreme Court rummaged through all those emanations and penumbras that only liberals can claim to detect in written documents, miraculously finding therein the right for same-sex couples to marry.
Angered by this expression of the will of the voters and the repudiation of an activist court, advocates for same-sex marriage have taken to the streets in Los Angeles, venting their outrage at what they describe as “hate” on the part of those who voted in favor of the proposition.
The protests thus far have come in the form of impromptu marches down various thoroughfares, disrupting traffic and raising a minor ruckus here and there. Los Angeles Police Department officers have arrested a handful of protesters, but most of the marchers have been voicing their opinions loudly but peacefully nearly every day since the election.
But even peaceful demonstrations can be disruptive to a community, and it’s been disheartening to witness the lengths to which the management of the LAPD has acquiesced to the disorder engendered by these protests.
Police officers have requested that marchers not block traffic, but when these requests have been ignored, police commanders prohibited officers from taking any action to restore order. Thus in parts of Hollywood and West Los Angeles, where afternoon commutes can be hellish on the best of days, drivers unfortunate enough to be caught in any of these protests have found themselves helplessly delayed as marchers flooded into the streets, even as dozens of LAPD officers looked on from nearby waiting for orders that never came.
Had the protesters organized a march and sought the proper permits, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAPD chief William Bratton, the city council, the police commission, indeed the entire municipal apparatus, nearly all of whose members are left-leaning and sympathetic to the same-sex marriage cause, would have moved heaven and earth to accommodate them, bringing large sections of the city to a halt if necessary, just as they have done to facilitate large-scale marches on behalf of another politically favored group, illegal aliens.
It’s interesting to note that the Los Angeles protests have been confined to such liberal enclaves as Hollywood and the West Side, where Proposition 8 was roundly rejected by the voters. If the marchers were intent on truly facing their opposition, they might take their activities to the, shall we say, grittier neighborhoods of South Central and East L.A., where it passed by wide margins. I suspect that drivers in those neighborhoods would not be so impassive upon finding their cars surrounded by people shrieking at them for being “hateful,” and that the marchers would welcome the LAPD’s assistance in escaping to the more hospitable zip codes whence they came.
The judicial creation of same-sex marriage has thus far been rejected by every American electorate to have considered the issue, but public opinion, at least in California, has been shifting. In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, which enacted a state law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. That initiative passed by a landslide, with a 61-39 margin. Proposition 8 passed by only a 52-48 margin, but the continuing antics of the protesters are doing little to change hearts and minds.
The dispute now returns predictably to the courts; three lawsuits have been filed in the hope of seeing the measure invalidated. The governments of both the city and county of Los Angeles have endorsed this effort, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Catholic who twice vetoed legislation authorizing same-sex marriage, has demonstrated what is, even for him, an astonishing elasticity of conviction by voicing his support for those hoping to see Proposition 8 overturned.
Until the matter is resolved (isn’t that what the election was for?), be careful where you drive in Los Angeles. And if you should find yourself impeded in your travels by same-sex marriage advocates roaming willy-nilly in the streets, don’t expect the police to do anything about it.