Politics... Again (2 of 2): Lines in the Sand

Another thought I had related to Prop 8, without having to go into the specifics of Prop 8, was the idea that laws are lines in the sand. The argument I was having about 8 was that is said such-and-such... but to different people, that meant different things.

Really, what I want to talk about is the Slippery Slope Fallacy. Namely, the (fallacious) argument that one decision will lead to others. For example, those who opposed gay marriage made the argument that Catholic adoption agencies may be forced to consider gay couples for adoption or be forced to close their doors. (Clearly, this is one small argument among many.  I'm just making an example, and don't want to focus on gay marriage right now. It's just an example.)

This is something that bugs me. If there's some line that you insist doesn't get crossed, then shouldn't that be on the legislation?  ...Even if it's a laundry list of results that you need to avoid?  You can put more than one idea on a single bill...

I'm all for specificity.  Perhaps that's because I'm a software developer: specific requirements are far easier to implement than vague ones... in fact, vague guidelines are prone to project-failure. But it seems to me that if you continue to pass legislation that is less than clear, you are essentially forcing the judicial branch to "legislate from the bench".  ...And the folks who pass these vague bills are usually first in line to proclaim the evils of judicial interpretation.

This is a tricky issue, though. Ostensibly, prop 8 seems specific enough: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." That's apparently pretty cut-and-dry: it's defining a word. I can respect the elegance there... but I think it's pretty clear that this has wide-ranging effects, since there are a myriad of directives on how to treat marriage in the eye of the law.

Well, I don't want to focus on this proposition: it's besides the point.  My point is that legislation should be absolutely transparent about its intentions.

Is this a mistake?  I'm open to clarification.  ; )

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