Friday, October 24, 2008

Proposition 8

I've been hesitant to write about this subject because there's so much to be said and I've been afraid I'd say it all wrong. Lucky for me, my husband's cousin (my cousin-in-law?) said it all right. He posted this on his facebook page, and I hope he doesn't mind me posting part of it here.

. . . . how will legalized same-sex marriage affect you? Here are some things to consider (see http://www.whatisprop8.com/ for full details):
1. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLHWBWSaW-4

2. Churches may be sued over their tax exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public.

3. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father.

4. Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits.

5. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines.

6. It will cost you money. This change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits.

Please thoughtfully consider this issue, and remember these points (from http://www.protectmarriage.com/:

1. Proposition 8 is about preserving marriage; it’s not an attack on the gay lifestyle. Proposition 8 doesn’t take away any rights or benefits from gays or lesbians in domestic partnerships. Under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits” as married spouses.

2. If Proposition 8 is defeated, the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed and its powerful influence on the betterment of society will be lost. The defeat of Prop. 8 would result in the very meaning of marriage being transformed into nothing more than a contractual relationship between adults. No longer will the interests of children and families even be a consideration. We will no longer celebrate marriage as a union of husband and wife, but rather a relationship between ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B.’ The marriage of a man and a woman has been at the heart of society since the beginning of time. It promotes the ideal opportunity for children to be raised by a mother and father in a family held together by the legal, communal and spiritual bonds of marriage. And while divorce and death too frequently disrupt the ideal, as a society we should put the best interests of children first, and that is traditional marriage. Voting No on Proposition 8 would destroy marriage as we know it and cause profound harm to society.

2 comments:

Arlynda said...

Check out this NPR story.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191.

Ace said...

I don't usually post on opinion blogs like this, but I feel pretty strongly on this issue. I doubt that I will be able to change your mind, but I think it is important to register that there are other people (a lot) who feel that equal rights include everyone.

First, Prop 8 IS an attack on the gay lifestyle. By not allowing all couples to enjoy not only the same legal rights (and domestic partnerships don't receive the same exact legal protection as marriages) but the same basic human rights as other couples, it is directly attack same-sex couples. It is an explicit comment that one couple is not as good as another. Domestic partnerships are blatant discrimination, and it has historically been proven that "separate but equal" never translates into true equality.

Second, marriage has NOT been at the heart of all societies since the beginning of time, especially by our own society's definition of marriage. Different societies historically have held different views of what constitutes a marriage, and who (such as which gender) could participate. Look at the American southwest and the berdache beliefs. Look at the Roman empire and the meaning of marriage there. Defining marriage as something to only be protected for a man and a woman is another form of cultural superiority that negates human rights that have been enjoyed by many different groups across time and space.

Third, the idea that Prop 8 will cost the taxpayers money because it will bring a "cascade of lawsuits" is an easy out with little merit when juxtaposed against, again, equal rights. The same argument could have been used for African-Americans in the 1950s. Should Rosa Parks have moved to the back of the bus to save the taxpayers money from lawsuits from what I would consider bigoted people? Brown v. Board of Education cost the taxpayers quite a bit of money as different school districts across the nation sued to protect what they viewed as the sanctity of race. Should Plessy v. Ferguson have been upheld because it would have been cheaper? Equal rights shouldn't come with a price tag.

Fourth, are children ever truly raised by only their mothers and fathers? In many different cultures, biological parents were not the people charged with raising children. Often this role fell to the grandparents, to the extended family, or to the community as a whole. Is this not an "ideal opportunity" for children? How closely do we want to define family, and at whose expense? Surely children who benefit from loving families shouldn't be used as justification for denying basic rights.

Fifth, why on earth is raising a child in a loving home, regardless of the gender or sexuality of the parents, a bad thing? How would this cause a "profound harm" to society? Being raised in a home that celebrates love, that celebrates commitment, and that celebrates tolerance is the best chance any child has for a productive, caring future.

Finally, these are many of the same arguments that have been used to block the rights of different groups in the past. If you don't agree with gay marriage, then you should not marry someone of the same gender. It doesn't lessen the value of your own marriage or your love with your marital partner by allowing someone else to celebrate their own love. Your reasoning implies that gay marriage will turn marriage as a whole into a loveless, legal issue as you note that it would be only a relationship of "Party A" with "Party B." Marriage has a legal foundation, yes, but saying that it would no longer be a celebration of a union suggests that you think gay marriages will be without love. In addition to the legal protection marriages bring (and, again, domestic partnerships don't always translate into exact equality), there is something powerful and amazing in declaring to the world that you love someone and are going to be committed to them. Gay couples deserve this basic human right just as much as straight couples.

Passion, commitment, love, and friendship are the basis of a marriage, not biology. Everyone should have the right to these. Perhaps the sanctity of marriage could be better upheld by all societies if we made these the qualifications for marriage.