Proposition 8

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I no longer reside in California, but many of my personal interests do, and today I want to talk to you about one of them. Feel free to close the blog window if this upsets you, it's just my feeling on an issue and with this very important election coming up, I want to talk about it. My opinion is here, not to say that yours is wrong and mine is right, because I don't think that's how it works. However, this is how I feel and this is why.

On May 16, 2008, the California Supreme Court, not a rogue group of judges as many people have wanted to call them, ruled that the ban on same-sex marriages should be lifted. A lot of people were upset, a lot of people were thrilled and a lot of people were left wondering what to think. I had a surprising number of people ask me if it made me feel like my soon-to-be (June 8th) wedding meant anything less.

And I couldn't come up with a better response then, are you freaking kidding me? I am THRILLED that everyone is allowed the right to marry, and here's why.

Regardless of whether you like girls or boys, marriage is a right that either all of us should have, or none of us should have. Plain and simple, that's the way I feel about it. Civil unions aren't enough, civil unions to me are like separate classrooms for children of different races. And every time I hear about granting civil unions instead of legal/traditional marriages to homosexuals I go back to the ruling on May 17, 1954 in which Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren declared (in the case of Brown v. Board of Education) that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." I cannot, for the life of me understand how we can say that separate types of marriages aren't inherently unequal as well.

When I was born and as I grew up, I knew I liked boys. It was the way I was born. I have no physiological evidence, but I believe that it is the way I am hardwired. Who can honestly tell me that some people aren't born favoring the same sex instead of the opposite one? Please, show me a piece of evidence, prove to me that someone is making a CHOICE to be attracted to the same sex.

And, AND, even if they are, who the hell cares? They're not asking you to join forces with someone with the same chromosomes as you, they're not asking you to promote it, but tolerance isn't difficult, and it is necessary if we're going to co-exist in this world.

Some of the yes on Prop 8 groups are touting that Californians already voted against gay marriage and that this group of judges took it upon themselves to overturn the will of the people. We're clouding the truth here.

The voters of California did not vote to permanently ban gay marriage and they sure as hell did not vote for a constitutional amendment banning it, which is what is on the line on Tuesday. And those silly judges? They aren't responsible for the will of the people. Our judicial system, especially state and national supreme courts are there to interpret the constitution, not the popular vote. They determine whether laws are constitutional based on the constitution, not on the trends and emotions of the people.

I realize that many of you do not support gay marriage for religious reasons. I don't think anyone is asking your church to recognize these as Christian marriages, but rather just as legal ones. No one is pushing any church to start holding ceremonies to unite two men or two women, no one is forcing you to attend the ceremonies either. Knowing that other people, in love with one another, regardless of their gender, were married on the same day as Slappy and me makes me happy. That was the best damn day of my life, and I cannot comprehend why we should deprive someone of that right because we don't agree with their lifestyle. A lifestyle that, for all that we know is not a choice at all, but rather, the way they are born, the way they feel they should feel.

I also know that many of you are upset at the idea of children being raised in such households and the impact that it might have on other children and school. I cannot help but wonder what our society would be like if we were as tolerant as we'd like to think we are. Sure, we've progressed. We integrated schools, we allow boys and girls to play and school together, how about if we now let loving families adopt children, regardless of their sexual preference? Integrating classrooms seemed and was revolutionary at the time, so maybe this feels that way, but it has to start somewhere, we cannot legally deprive someone the right to be a parent unless they are unfit, and loving someone of the same gender does not an unfit parent make. It just doesn't. It does not make them a pedophile or creepy, it just makes them different and I sincerely hope that my children grow up to understand that different is not bad.

A vote of no on proposition 8 does not threaten your churches, it does not threaten your children. It might threaten your preconceived notions about right or wrong, it might go against what you're used to, but what that proposition will do if it is not stopped is prohibit freedom to those equally deserving of it as you and me. People, who like you and me, want to commit themselves, in marriage, to the person they love. People who deserve the same, not separate rights, and people who have worked long and hard to get them.

I am leaving the comments open because I encourage dialogue here. I obviously don't fully understand both sides of this argument and if you have a strong opinion, share it. If you don't know how you feel, share it. Let's learn from each other, let's understand both sides of this and let's have an adult conversation about it.

Truly, I'd love to hear what y'all have to say about it. As badly as I want this proposition to fail, I also want to understand those who feel differently. And I respect you for your opinion and applaud you for sharing it with me.

(That said, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. And unkind comments will be deleted without any warnings or notification.)


Anonymous said...

well said. logical, factual, to the point w/o a lot of emotion to confuse the issue.

thank you.

(oh, and i agree with you wholeheartedly)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your lovely and articulate post. I'm grateful that California has permitted a way for same sex couples to be married legally. Why so many are so threatened by other peoples' lifestyles is something that I'll never understand. I'm fortunate to have a lovely husband who shares my beliefs, but we're certainly a minority here in Alabama. I hope that California continues to set a fine example for the rest of our country.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more, and I love how eloquently you wrote about your feelings!

I'm a first time visitor (found you through The Bloggess)and I think I'll be back again because I enjoy what I've read so far!

Thank You!

No on Prop H8!

the queen said...

Gary and I were just talking about this. We thought when we married we had two in one - there was the state marriage with the license and the witnesses(granted, we did that in the church, but as the minister explained if we didn't do it now, then we weren't really married.) Then of course there was the church marriage we took care of the same day.

Muslims of my acquaintance have the simultaneous weddings too: the state wedding for tax etc. purposes and the "Islamic marriage" - which they feel is more important - which also falls outside of state laws (you don't have to be 13 if your parents want to arrange it that way).

So, don't most people have a legal civil union and a religious ceremony too? If I didn't have a church wedding I wouldn't feel less married. My in-laws were "married in the vetibule" (some Catholic hedge) and they were still legally married.

So is it just semantics? Wouldn't it be easier if all us heterosexuals just called our state agreement a civil union? Then we wouldn't be separate and unequal. Or maybe it's a problem with the churches, maybe they need to sanction more gay weddings.

I have no strong feelings on this, and that's why I'm adopting this stance - I really don't feel one way or another, I just like arguments, and this seems rational. But maybe that's the problem. I don't know how it would feel if I knew my friend had a state wedding and I had a state union.

(My gay friend Silas always referred to himself as married anyway. Until he got divorced with the help of an arbitrer.)

Anonymous said...

Well written. I'm all for gay people having the right to marry.

To that end, I know more gay couples who are in a committed long term relationship that lasts longer than many marriages. Truly, what harm could come from allowing them the same terminology?

kim-d said...

Okay, this is probably one that I will go on and on about and probably won't make any sense, unlike your logical and to-the-point stating of the facts.

It is my opinion--based solely on the gay people that I know, which is a lot--that BEING gay is not something they chose. They were born that way, and realized it from early ages on. I think the choice in it is living the lifestyle; you can live in denial or you can live what you are. I have no idea how ANYONE could live their whole lives denying who and what they are. I think that would just be too sad for words.

When I was married, it was not in a church but, to me, that doesn't mean that my marriage was any less blessed than anyone else's. I don't even bother to get into the religious/church thoughts about homosexuality because I don't know how anybody--church or not--can make sweeping generalizations like that. Hetero OR homo, people are individuals. People are people, some of them are nice, some of them are not, some of them should have children, some of them should really think twice about it, some are better at marriage than others. Hetero couples split up, gay couples split up, there are some really obnoxious people who are also gay, there are some really obnoxious people who are not gay. I don't think of gay people in terms of being a "special" group that is set apart from others. Maybe that is because, working both for an airline and in the hotel industry, I have known and do know many, many gay people. Just like I know many, many people who are not gay.

When it comes to the marriage issue, I have a pretty simplistic view of the whole thing. If gay people, just like anyone else, want to get married, go ahead. It's none of my business and I don't see where it hurts me, or even affects me, to the point where I need to have any big opinion on it. People should be able to live their lives, as long as they're not encroaching on the rights of others. Personally, I think it's very hard, in this world, to find someone to completely love and spend your life with. If you do, you should be able to be with them, regardless of who it is. Who am I to say who someone else should love. If they are happy, that's what matters. But then, just go ahead and get on with your life. And the same goes for whoever keeps coming up with the Propositions to undo what's been done. Leave it alone and move on.

That's the way I see it.

Overflowing Brain said...

I appreciate the feedback guys, it's great. And please don't anyone feel like they can't comment against me (or other commenters). Some of the greatest discoveries come through dissent and discussion.

Queen- I'm not sure about the legal v. church stuff. We did one wedding where our minister/Rabbi were state officiants. It wasn't in a church but we signed a legal license and a katubah at the same time.

And as far as calling them all "civil unions" that absolutely works for me. I have no problem, as long as everyone gets the same options. It's an interesting point, I like it.

April said...

Well, ok I guess I'll share my opinion. I am against it (I would be if I lived in Ca). Because I believe God meant marriage to be between a women and a man.

I have had(I am a nanny now and spend my time around 3 yr olds, not a "work" enviroment anymore) many gay friends and think they are great people, just because I don't agree with some of their choices doesn't mean I can't be friends with them. (who totally agrees with all their friends life choices anyway) But I truly believe that God is Truth and His desire is for our absolute best. I feel that since He created me He knows what will be the best for me, and to go along with that I don't think He would tell us not to do certain things and then create us in a way that we would not be able to obey.

I don't know, I don't have all the answers, I do want to say that I DO NOT THINK that if you are gay you are going to hell. I's a lack of relationship with Jesus that seperates us. If we want no part of His will in our lives on earth He will not force you to spend eternity with Him. It's our choice.

Anonymous said...

All of the arguments I hear against legal marriage for all have a religious basis. Religious belief should not define legal rights, as we are supposed to live in a country that separates the two. Anyone who marries here has a legal/civil marriage when they sign the paperwork; the rest is for the benefit of you and the others present (and any God(s) you believe in). The government should not be allowed to deny the legal marriage or its many legal benefits to any citizen. If your religion is against it, then fine...deny them the right to marry in your church or religion.

Anonymous said...

You go girl!

Anonymous said...

Um April, I don't understand your words.

Overflowing Brain: *sigh* I have written and written and ranted and gotten aaaalll hot under the collar over this over and and over in the past month or so. And I'm too tired to do it again. So all I'll say is this:

1. I agree with you 1,536 over!
2. I am DEEPLY grateful to be able to vote in California.
3. The Yes on Prop. 8 seem to be very, very misinformed about what all of this means (ie. 'homosexuality will be taught in the schools' ..... I'm sorry, what? )
4. I wish the 'breeders' (straight folk) would worry about saving their own damn marriages. Last time I checked, we're ruining it all by ourselves and maybe we should take a lesson from gay couples who have been together their whole lives WAITING to be recognized as legal partners. *sigh*
5. This country was founded on the separate of church and state. Legal = State. Church = god. Never the two shall meet.

Anonymous said...

Hey Katie
I almost didn't read this blog at first b/c I thought from the first few sentences you were going in the total opposite direction with a conservative point of view, and I'm quite glad I kept reading 'cos I totally agree with you. As a Canadian, I found your post really interesting - I try to keep up with US politics (especially ethical and bio-ethical issues...), but every state varies so much its hard.

I'm not gay, but have many friends who are, and don't think they should be denied any rights because of who they are. It's a little different here in Canada as we've allowed gay marriage for a while, and some of the churches (I know of some Anglican ones) support it too. We just had an election a few weeks ago, and the topic of gay marriage wasn't even an issue. We do have a conservative (minority) government, but they don't see it as one of the "major" issues. Sure people still protest it (mostly the highly religious types), but most people agree with it, or even if they don't, they accept it and don't make a fuss about it. Over time, bigger things came up and (most) people forgot it was ever an issue. It does flair up from time to time - such as Elton John coming to Canada to get married or two of the guys from the Amazing Race, but that got more positive publicity than anything.

So I hope this vote goes through as a "no" and that things continue on as they are. If religious people oppose to gay marriage - then fine, they don't have to marry a person of the same sex. But religious values should not be forced on other people.

I haven't seen any comments that strongly argue/attack your post - so maybe there aren't that many out there after all :)

Out of curiousity, are you going to disclose who you vote for - or do you keep that secret? I am very curious to see Tuesday's results... wish I could vote in it.

Anonymous said...

@ashley, oh darling ... troll the interwebs for long enough and you'll find no less than 4 billion blogs dedicated to 'saving marriage'. I seem to be quite wrapped up in commenting on several of them myself and it's leading to heightened blood pressure. *sigh*

It's a very, very long time until Wednesday morning. Katie, do you have some drugs you can send me? ;-)

Anonymous said...

You know, here in Canada gay marriage has been legal for quite awhile. So far, I haven't seen The Gays out forcing others into their "lifestyle" (although I hear that every time they convert someone, they get a toaster oven).
As for homosexuality being a choice - again, I have NEVER spoken to someone who has said "Oh sure, I totally choose to have people hate me because of how I was born. It'd be great, too, if people maybe threatened me now and then because of who I love. Yeah, sign me up for that!"
(sorry to rant, K).

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have to throw in my .02 since I find the whole "separation of church and state" thing vastly misunderstood. To make it short and sweet, government is not supposed to dictate to to which religion you choose (or don't choose, if you wish). But if you review the documents of the founding fathers, this nation was shaped under Christian beliefs and morals. For example, children should be able to pray in school if they want to, but schools shouldn't dictate what they pray, to whom they pray or even if they pray at all. Now for my own personal opinion, I believe that God sanctioned marriage for a man and a woman. If gay people want to form a legal union, I have no problem with that. But I don't think it should be called marriage. And no, I don't hate gays. One of my closest friends is gay. I have no idea if gay is biology or choice. Doesn't matter. We are commanded to love all as ourselves. And the poster who commented the only thing that can separate us from God is lack of a relationship or acceptance of Jesus is spot on.

Anonymous said...

there is very deep issue here at hand in terms of marriage. This problem will in no way be solved in this election. The door for conflict has been blown wide open, and the issue will go on to weig more important things in our country.

We must truly look at the responsibilities of the state, and its need to promote the well being of it's systems ability to provide freedoms and liberties for its constituents and to avoid creating inconsistencies for them that leads to moral dilemnas.

If we are to be true liberterians, and propose a state of anarchy, we must therefore not ask the state to consider our contracts, agreements, rhetoric etc. in its decision making process. For example, absolutely free trade and economy. However, because we request help (Welfare, police, defence, social security), recognition (race, profession, sexual orientation, business, sexual orientation, single or married), and action (money, punishments, reimbursements, domicile, visitation rights) from the system, and beg often for its interference for its constituents, we therefore grant it a power. And this is it: discernment.

It must have the power to categorize. Who is poor, guilty, friend, enemy, retirement aged, hispanic, white, black, architect, school teacher, lawyer, president, soldier, pilot, gay, straight, neither, both, single, married, owed to, owes, guilty, not guilty, afflicted, afflicting, is in georgia, is in texas, is in california, related, unrelated, etc. This is key to our system of law. We give it this power because of the complexity it has due to our requests of it. No one is exempt in this request by virtue of living here. Therefore, we cannot claim infinite equality from the law.

This is fine. It's ok. Anyone against it or that says it is not true is simply not looking hard enough.

Proposition 8, and anyone who comes against it, are fighting over a power of discernment of the law, and that is the relational status that the law categorizes two people as "marriage". The category has already existed for a long time, and the law has helped, recognized, and acted on this category. And therefore it has interfered. Once again this is ok. Because we expect this of the government. And if we do not consider this fair, than that person does not belong here, and probably not in any other government.

They are absolute anarchists.

Now, this is the danger that our modern day is putting before our government: regulating on popular basis what the different categories are, and furthermore, what their individual responsibilities, benefits, demerits, restrictions and other qualities are.

So, the marriage contract, homosexual relationships, heterosexual relationships, polygamist relationships, incest relationships, and others are all recognized by the law and assigned a status, legal or illegal. This too is ok. They are each individual categories. However, the marriage contract is a far more formal category.

Now, this is the problem of not supporting a measure such as prop 8. You force the law to take two VERY different relationships, with very REAL differences, make it dishonor those differences, and force them into a category that will provide the EXACT same qualities to both relationships. We do not need the law to do this, because it is already done. It's called a union.

Furthermore, we are forcing the law to take a category, called a contract, and force it into one of our most fundamental categories: a Right. We are confusing it with a real right: the right to hold a contract. Therefore, we remove a serious right: the right to exclusivity in any contract. And we will take it to the supreme court to do this.

All in the name of equality. This is perhaps the biggest challenges this country will face. Are we going to force the government to hand over its power of discernment to our will and whim. And then, force it to close its eyes to real differences because of the word of the day, Tolerance and Equality, in this case, and then make it act irrelevant of those differences.

The psychological impact that this will have on the future of this nation is unknown and could not be calculated. Because we will begin the eroding of value and difference for the law, we may affect the very nature of this culture in the future. And in no good way, because we may begin to affect the categories of the general culture and social structure because of its interdependence of with government in a negative manner. This is not human rights and decency, and neither are people calculating to do this great harm to our nation. It is simply our inability to see past the real issues, and handle them as required.

That there are ways to protect different groups from discrimination and that we can, with the law, is true. But granting the formal homosexual union the same as the formal heterosexual union is not the way. This will unnecessarily inhibit the rights of heterosexual union.

We should avoid this precedent at all costs. Because it is a precedent for lying at the fundamental levels of the government, not just at decision making and bureaucratic levels.

Forget the problems for the two groups for and against gay marriage, we are entering a discussion of this nation's government's future, it's quality, and possible eventual demise.

Flea said...

*sigh* I can't agree with gay marriage. I just can't. I'm sorry. I don't hate, or even dislike, gay people.

I agree that straight marriages are in huge trouble in the US. I don't think it correlates to gay unions, though. I've worked very hard on marriage to my husband of 17 years. We almost didn't make it several times over. Hard work and prayer and determination and my thick skull have paid off so far. Marriage - regardless of gender choice - is just very hard work most of the time. Reality makes it so. Personality differences make it more so.

All of that said, if American voters legalize the marriage, I won't rant about it. I can't change people. I won't try.