Friday, October 24, 2008

No On Prop 8. Just, No.

Are you fucking kidding me with this?

Yes, I used the word "fuck" in my first sentence. And now I'm going to go ahead and bring up another big word: Nazi. Oh-ho! Nazis and fuckall in my first few sentences! Yeah, this is a doozy.

It is 2008 and we shall NOT, canNOT be Citizens of this American Nation and write discrimination INTO an American Constitution.

Yesterday I walked past a car on my way into work with the bumper sticker that said "YES ON 8! RESTORE MARRIAGE!" and it had a stick-figure family on it. I was so mad I wanted to kick the car. I wanted to leave a note that said, "NO ON 8! RESTORE LOVE!" But I'm writing this instead.

Or rather, I'm posting what Beth wrote. With a bit of a preamble.

In case you do not know, on November 4, Californians will have the opportunity to vote on a measure that will change our state constitution to expressly state that marriage is only valid and recognized if it is between one man and one woman.

Meaning, Sorry, scary gay people. No marriage for you! But you can have those cute, meaningless "civil unions" and all the Bravo reality tv shows you want. They're fierce!

Except, OH THAT'S RIGHT. Where I come from, every citizen is entitled -- oh, yes, entitled -- to equal protection under law. Two consenting adults deserve to have the same rights and protection as any other two consenting adults. Period. If you think the scary gays should have one set of rules and the straight folks should have another, I will remind you that "separate but equal...is inherently unequal." Seriously. I am not even making that up.

If* your church or your God or your bible or your delicate, weirded-out sensibilities say that gay marriage is bad, well okay! Your church and God and bible and you don't have to perform or attend or take part in gay marriage. You can go on, just as you are. Tra la la. (Oh, but for the record? You are no longer welcome in my home**.)

*Update: This is an IF. I am not suggesting it is only the Church or that every church or every Christian (or other religious) group is opposed to gay marriage. I mean to say that if your religious views are at odds with same-sex marriage, well, okay. Prop 8 isn't asking your religious institution to sanction them. In fact, this is about taking the religiousness out of the law. Either marriage is a legal institution or it isn't. And if it is, then all citizens deserve the same protection.

**This is a weird thing for me to write, but really. I do not wish to break bread with someone who thinks that gay people should not have the same rights as other people. It's as absurd and hateful to me as saying, "Oh, I have no problem with black people. I just don't think they should be allowed to get married or raise kids."


Because when our government grants some people a right and then takes that right away from some other people just because of their race their religion their gender their genetic make-up, whoops! We've started sliding right back down that slippery slope -- no, not THAT slippery slope. NOT the one where if we let scary gays marry then the next thing you know people will be marrying dolphins, no. -- toward some four-legs-good-two-legs-bad, pink triangle, separate water-cooler precedent. A precedent I thought we kind of, you know, got over. (Uh, not that we're otherwise all discrimination-free here in the States, but we have kind of stopped making laws that guarantee and protect discrimination.)

Yet we're right back at the beginning. I'm not even being dramatic. Writing discrimination into law is exactly what Prop 8 does, and I do not understand how this is even something we're considering. How is such a ballot even legal in the first place?

But fine. Fine. You think I'm being ranty and loud and crazy with my talk about Nazis? Alrighty then.

Please read what Beth has to say. She is lovely, and smart, and articulate, and kind, and thoughtful, (and yes, Christian - gasp!) and she and her amazing wife are a shining example of what every -- EVERY -- marriage should aspire to be.

I implore you to read her post here. But I will cut and paste it in its entirety below as well, in the hopes that the words get picked up by more places, outlets, people who are not sure how they will vote (WHICH IS ALSO BAFFLING TO ME, BY THE WAY).

Because this is the best "plea" I've ever seen written on the subject. And there have been many.

So please. Read. Share. Comment. Donate.



And Vote No On Prop 8.

Click on the link below or scroll down to read. It's really that important.



Our plea.

I am asking every American who has a gay child, parent, sibling, cousin or friend to read this through to the end. It is my plea.

When Merideth and I exchanged vows seven years ago (on October 20), we asked Merideth’s sister to do a reading. She chose her text from various sources, all on the subject of “home.” She explained that that was what marriage meant to her, and what she hoped it would mean to us. She emphasized that that this one person, this one who loves and supports you and greets you in the morning and at the end of the day with a smile: This person is home.

In the past seven years, we’ve discovered just how true that is. We are each other’s home, and we work every day to make sure that is as true on the days when the most romantic thing we do is laundry as it was on the day that we promised to love one another forever.

We consider our wedding date to be that day: October 20, 2001. But the state of California thinks our wedding date is July 11, 2008, because that was the day that we promised we would love each other forever after the California Supreme Court declared marriage a legal option for ALL consenting, adult Californians on May 15, 2008. And to be honest, I didn’t think that second wedding date was going to be a big deal. We considered ourselves married already; this was just a formality. But when I heard the words, “By the power vested in me by the State of California…,” I knew there was a difference. There was a difference between a legal recognition of domestic partnership and a legal recognition of a marriage. In fact, there are over 1000 civil rights afforded by “marriage” that are not afforded by “domestic partnership.” The Supreme Court of California noted that this was a case of separate but (un)equal, and I agree. It felt different. (Please see Lesbian Dad’s similar post for what can happen when insurance companies will not recognize a designation.)

On the California ballot in the upcoming election, Proposition 8 proposes to reverse the California Supreme Court decision that allowed same-sex marriage to make marriage between “one man and one woman.” This proposition has extremely heavy funding from the Mormon Church and other religious organizations who are using scare tactics that include unabashed lies (not very Christian, that) in their advertisements, stating that churches will lose their tax-exempt status if gay people have the right to marry. I have also heard arguments that Proposition 8 should pass because marriage between a man and a woman is “traditional,” that heterosexual marriage needs to be protected, because the Bible says being gay is bad, or because it’s all a slippery slope into bigamy and (my personal favorite) bestiality. I truly believe that these arguments are all a smokescreen because people feel icky about gay marriage. And to be even more forthright: They feel icky about gay sex, but have too much difficulty enforcing anti-gay sex laws, so instead want to make sure that gay families aren’t allowed the same rights as heterosexual families.

But let’s look at the arguments anyway:


THE LIE: Churches Will Lose Their Tax-Exempt Status
The pro-Proposition 8 ads note that if Prop. 8 is defeated, churches COULD lose their tax-exempt status.

Well, you know what? The sky could fall in, too. However, if churches lost their tax-exempt status every time they did something that went against law, then the Catholic church would have lost their tax-exempt status when they refused to let women become priests. Any other business would be in huge trouble with labor attorneys over gender discriminatory practices, but the Catholic church continues on its merry way because of the separation of church and state (otherwise known as the First Amendment to the United States constitution). And that’s fine. I truly believe in all of the amendments of the Constitution, that one first and foremost. I have no interest in legislating churches with my “gay agenda,” and neither does the government.

And while I hate to accuse anyone of lying outright, the pro-Prop. 8 people are LYING. I cannot believe that they are so stupid that they think that this one tiny proposition allowing gay marriage to be recognized by the state will spell the doom of any church, be it founded by St. Paul or by Paul down the street. And the fact that the pro-Prop. 8 campaign is predominantly funded by churches and church organizations means that they are knowingly lying, or at the very least purposefully misleading others through fear. Which is not really something I should expect from my church.


Marriage Between a Man and a Woman is “Traditional.”
Merideth, Mandy and I have a tradition where we go shopping together on the day after Thanksgiving. I get an eggnog latte, and we stroll the Stanford Shopping Plaza, picking up Christmas gifts and enjoying the high school carolers. We’ve had this tradition for seven years, so I think it’s time to legislate it.

Nevermind that I could argue that a marriage between one man and one woman is hardly “traditional” based upon historical documents and using the Bible as examples. Nevermind that we all have to give an offensive wink, wink, nudge about the Mormon religion’s idea of traditional marriage. You know what else is traditional? Slavery. Also? Subservient women, racial separatism, spousal abuse, peeing outdoors, and sitting in the dark once the sun goes down. Happily, along with tradition, there’s also progress, both in technical inventions and in societal understanding and conventions.


Heterosexual Marriage Needs to be Protected.
From whom? Me? Really? If anyone’s THAT intent on protecting marriage, I think all states should refuse to recognize marriages from Nevada unless all parties signed a sober affidavit. We should also maybe outlaw divorce. That’ll protect marriage.


The Bible Says Being Gay is Bad.
Merideth and I are both Christians, which might come as shocking news to other Christians who keep throwing their Bibles at us. (We have a few, and have actually read them, but thanks.) And while I would love to get into it about what the Bible says about homosexuality (this San Francisco Chronicle article did a good job, as did Jen Austin in her book, “Coming Out Christian,” a must-read for any Christian struggling with homosexuality) the Bible shouldn’t even be figuring into this. Once again, the separation of church and state must wield its ugly head and roar about how the Bible doesn’t get to dictate what happens in the law. And if the Bible DID get to dictate, I think we should probably be pointing fingers at the people who are trying to persecute gay people based upon outdated Old Testament laws when Jesus clearly said we had a new covenant. I’m pretty sure that if we all glanced at our bracelets and asked ourselves what Jesus would do in this circumstance, it would be to promote loving families, not stone a minority group.


Slippery Slope.
The slippery slope has always been my favorite. If we let the gays marry, the next thing you know, bigamy will be rampant and people will want to marry their dogs. This will, of course, be right after my head explodes because of how obtuse anyone who spouts this argument has to be. How hard is it to have a law that marriage can be between two consenting adults?

I’m much more scared of the other slippery slope: If we decide to take away the right of homosexuals to marry, what’s stopping us from letting them have jobs? And who said they had the right to be out after dark? At what point will they have to wear a symbol on their clothes so we can recognize them? Sound familiar? If not, Tivo the history channel for one day for a big fat refresher on what the “slippery slope” of letting the government revoke human rights looks like. Or better yet, ask your grandfather what it was like to liberate Germany.


Plea.
I realize that I’ve treated this with a silly tone in some parts, but I am deadly serious about this Proposition. The venom and bigotry behind it make me dizzy because of the amount of effort being put forth to restrict my right to pursue happiness.

I wasn’t alive when the Nazi party came to power, but I know it didn’t happen in one day. Little laws and restrictions kept sneaking their way in until one day those who were considered unfit for civilization were all hauled away, many never to be seen or heard from again. Do not misunderstand: I do not think we are on the threshold of a Holocaust, nor do I want to minimize the amount of suffering of those who lived through it or died because of it. My point is that we are currently seeing a specific targeting of a minority class who has not done any harm other than make some people feel squeamish. And that is dangerous. As Americans — hell, as people — we have an obligation to protect the minority classes, because often the majority turns into mob rule.

Call me melodramatic, but I am honestly fearful that those who will not help protect me today would also turn their faces if I or someone else were made to wear a sleeve insignia or get taken away on a train in the night.

So please: Donate to Equality California. Even if you don’t live in California, do it for every person you love who is or might be gay. Do it for the children you have or might have. Do it for that uncle who’s been living with his male “friend” for the last fifty years. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do you have ten extra dollars? Donate ten dollars.

And if you do live in California? For heaven’s sake, vote No on 8.

P.S. Thanks to all our friends and family who have already donated. And thanks to Brit, who put out her own plea for us on her blog.

26 comments:

  1. I could not agree with you more

    ReplyDelete
  2. The thought of prop. 8 passing makes me sick. Wonderful articles. I'll be passing this link about cyberspace it you don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i can't wait for this election to be over so i can stop hearing/seeing all the yes on 8 propaganda.

    i worry, though, that if it loses, it will just be back again on a future ballot. these freaks are relentless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am a devout Christian who attends church every week, has a daily devotional time and an active spiritual life. I have voted NO on prop 8 and never considered doing otherwise. I've even posted on it twice (the second time was today, as a matter of fact). Not all Christians feel that gay people are scary. I promise, I even have a few close gay friends! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here in Florida, there is a similar amendment that will be voted on election day. Amendment 2. One Man, One Woman. I will be voting, not no...but H-E-L-L NO!

    My reasoning is nearly the same and yours and Beth's, with an added point. This country is a democracy, not a theocracy. If there is to be a true separation of church and state, then Christian ideals and traditions should not make their way into law.

    Anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  6. AMEN! This is one Mormon who feels no threat from gay marriage whatsoever. Please know that we're not all afraid of gay marriage. Some of us believe in treating everyone as equals regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, background, etc. Just as the constitution provides.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Also, I got into really hot water with my company because I flat out refused to help them work the phone lines to educate voters on why they should choose YES to the amendment.

    It's funny, because two weeks later I was written up for something I was told to do by my supervisor. Funny how that works.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is the first time in my life that have felt so strongly about an Prop on the ballot. I just can't understand what is going on in their head but it comes from fear, fear of what I don't know. There are two No Votes in this house.

    If they are so concerned about marriage why aren't they working on why there is 60% divorce rate?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you, for this! Beth may be articulate and well-spoken but there's a lot to be said about the passion in the way you wrote about this. I had to share the LOVE.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As the chilly, wet weather sets in here, up in Canada, I feel lucky to live in a place where this debate has been put to rest. Gay marriage was legalized on July 20, 2005 and has quietly nestled into our reality. No death of 'traditional' marriage, no man-dog marriages to speak of. Just a small step towards equality for all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to you for re-posting this, and with such a great preamble. This is the fight of our lives, and it feels great to have such good friends blocking for us.

    We should start a football team.

    ReplyDelete
  12. brava, brava, brava. And this comes from a straight person living in GEORGIA, USA.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I lived in California in the 70's and thought I had come to the 'promised land'. You could not find a more liberal state then. However, when you increase the population a thousand fold I suppose you can expect to have some very odd notions comoing out of the woodwork with some very odd supporters. I am sure California is nowhere as liberal as it used to be, witness the subject proposition. This clearly is a concerted effort by a very small minority and deserves to be fought tooth and nail to the gritty end. Complacency is what replaces thoughtfulness in this world and red alerts like this blog and so many others are what we depend on now for intellectual input. Amen to you all and good luck on election day. Please let us all know the outcome after Nov. 4th, we here in Maine are not touting any such legislation, but you just never know what the future holds.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Recently, I had a discussion about this with my parents. I mentioned my disgust at our neighbors' 'Yes in 8. Protect Marriage' yard signs. They looked at each other and said they kind of had a problem with gay marriage. My mom went one step further and confessed that letting gay coupled adopt 'never sat right' with her either. I was floored. My parents? My peyote-loving, grandchildren of Mexican Immigrants, Native American, Cesar Chavez marching, first in their families to be college educated, Harley-riding, Californian parents?

    I just sat back and proclaimed that everybody deserved love. They blinked. My dad eventually shook his head and laughed, "I can't believe we raised such a liberal daughter."

    ReplyDelete
  15. The thought of this passing makes me physically ill. I was SO HAPPY when my state (MA) didn't fuck this up but very worried during the process.

    I'm proud the right thing happened here. I'm hoping the right thing happens there too. And I second all your outrage, disgust, and comparisons to Nazis, because you're right.

    ReplyDelete
  16. And while you're at it:

    NO on Prop 4:

    http://www.noonprop4.org/

    For the third time in four years, Proposition 4 is a ballot measure which would endanger teens by mandating parental notification 48 hours in advance of a minor terminating a pregnancy. Read the official Prop 4 Summary, as well as the No on 4 Ballot Argument.

    Parents rightfully want to be involved in their teenagers' lives, and the good news is that most teens do go to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy. But in the real world, parental notification laws don't work. No law can mandate family communication.

    Who opposes Prop 4? Check out the coalition of organizations, doctors and parents who have joined together to protect teen safety and have endorsed "No on Prop 4," including:

    * California Nurses Association
    * California Medical Association
    * California Association of School Counselors
    * California Teachers Association
    * Planned Parenthood

    Prop 4 creates dangerous barriers for a vulnerable teen going to a trusted adult such as a grandma or aunt for support.

    Don't be fooled by Prop 4's inclusion of an "alternative family member notification" in this initiative. Prop 4 is not about "family involvement."

    Family notification is no more than a state-scripted form letter sent to another relative who may not live in the same town or state. Prop 4 contains no requirement for counseling and no requirement that the notified adult help her when she is in crisis. Prop 4 puts our most vulnerable teenagers in harms way.

    To put it more bluntly, forced family notification is a lie. Right now, a scared pregnant teen can already go to a trusted aunt or an older sister. This law would close that option to her because, under Prop 4, if the teen chooses to go to another adult, her parents would be automatically reported to authorities and an investigation would ensue.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm with Rebecca ... Up here in Canada thank God this has all been put to rest and life is carrying on and love is being shared. And as she said: 'No death of 'traditional' marriage, no man-dog marriages to speak of. Just a small step towards equality for all.'

    Hooray!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yeah, so far not California's proudest moment. And...not sure if you're experiencing the same thing up there, but down here in LA, the "Yes on 8" people have started purchasing massive advertising time on progressive talk radio. It's nauseating. I agree with the poster from Massachussetts...I hope we do the right thing here, too.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think that we do a disservice to the importance and scope of this issue when we talk about it as a "liberal" issue. Prop 8 isn't about conservative vs. liberal or Republican vs. Democrat, it's about legislated theocratic oppression and discrimination. Allowing the issue to be cast in the light of liberal vs. conservative lends legitimization to the people who support Prop 8 which they do not deserve. This is not a question of differing religious beliefs, it's a question of writing inequality and discrimination into our Constitution. It's not the same as debating about school vouchers, war in Iraq, tax policy, environmentalism - it is not liberal vs. conservative, two well-held beliefs debating complex issues. It's about crossing the line and violating a central social tenant of a democracy, it's about returning to a civil rights landscape that allowed slavery and withheld the vote from women. It's that bad.

    People who are for this are not "conservatives," they are theocratic bigots who aren't even content with the fact they live in a country where they are free to have their church and own their own religious beliefs without government intervention. People who are against Prop 8 aren't liberals, they are simply American citizens who actually believe in the principles of our country.

    ReplyDelete
  20. very well stated. I believe all people should have the same rights regardless of their sexual preference.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great posts, ladies! (And comments too.)

    I just don't understand the fear. Do they think God will condemn entire states when he passes judgment?

    ReplyDelete
  22. how the heck can i be excited and scared at the same time? it's like watching a scary movie through my interlaced fingers covering my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm ashamed to say a similar amendment passed in VA two years ago. I was shocked! How could anyone think they were "protecting" marriage? All they did was show how intolerant they are and send a message that intelligent, creative, talented, wonderful people who happen to gay are not welcome here.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am voting NO EFFING WAY on 8.
    The way I see it is this:
    One hundred years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote. Sixty years ago, minorities weren’t provided the same rights to marriage and basic education that the white majority were. Women were restricted from enrolling in the same colleges and universities that men were.
    The civil rights movements of the 1950’s and 1960’s gradually changed all of this. Because of the civil rights movement, I benefited. I feel that because I benefited from these movements, many of which were led by gays and lesbians in the hopes that one day the same rights would extend to them, I feel that it is my inherent responsibility to continue this civil rights movement.

    ReplyDelete