In an upsetting - but expected ruling - the CA Supreme Court voted to uphold Proposition 8, which reads:
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
- Only (marriage between a man and a woman) is valid or recognized in California. Nothing else - nothing at all - is valid.
- (Only marriage) between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Of all legal or other agreements between a man and a woman, marriage is the only one that's valid.
- [No parenthetical equivalent] Pair "only" with "a man and a woman" to imply that no other marriages are valid. This says nothing about other, non-marriage contracts.
Common sense suggests that we parse the sentence as "Only (boys between the ages of 10 and 15) can apply." Thus, no girls allowed. Proposition 8, however, would have us pair "only" with "between the ages of 10 and 15" to imply that no other boys are able to apply. This says nothing about other, non-boy applicants. Girls are allowed, then?
From National Organization for Marriage's talking points:
Language to avoid at all costs: "Ban same-sex marriage." Our base loves this wording. So do supporters of SSM. They know it causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls. Don’t use it. Say we’re against “redefining marriage” or in favor or “marriage as the union of husband and wife” NEVER “banning same-sex marriage.”
52% of voters voted for Proposition 8; by NOM's own admission, only 42% would have voted for it had it been clearly written. It should have been a resounding failure, not a narrow success.