Thursday, October 23, 2008

With a Heavy Heart...

Today I have a very heavy heart. One of my good friends, somebody I truly love, just called me up out of the blue to tell me that she plans to vote yes on Prop 8 and that she needed to address it with me. She went on to tell me that not only must she honor her religious faith by voting "yes," but also that she has done a lot of research on the issue and she has concerns about what legalizing same-sex marriage will mean to her children (children, is must be noted, that she doesn't have yet). She spoke of the ramifications of same-sex marriage without giving specifics, and stressed to me that her vote to eliminate my right to enjoy the same kind of legally recognized relationship that she is entitled to does not mean that she loves me any less. Well, golly gee.

I have to admit, I was floored by this conversation, but I should not be surprised. I knew my friend was getting more and more involved with her religious faith (those damned Mormons!), and in fact, I saw this coming, but it didn't make facing the inevitable any easier. I didn't want to get into a huge debate (or worse), so I politely told her that she is entitled to her opinion and that I still love her, then excused myself from the phone call. But now... just moments later, I'm torn. I was just sitting at work the other day telling my co-worker that I didn't think I would be able to maintain a relationship with anyone who voted in favor of Proposition 8, and now I'm forced to put my money where my mouth is. But here's the thing: I don't know that I can do that. How can I look at someone who voted to deny me the right to equality and not feel like they've told me that I am lesser in their eyes? How can I not feel judged? Telling someone that is gay, "I love you, but I don't think you should enjoy the same legal rights as me" is the same as telling a black person, "I love you, but I don't think you should be allowed to drink out of the same fountain as me." And yet my friend maintains that she loves me and thinks no less of me. How can this be true if she doesn't think I should be allowed to the most basic of rights?

As I said, the reason that my friend gave me for voting in favor of Proposition 8 is that she is worried what same-sex marriage would mean for her children (the ones she hasn't even had yet). She said there would be very serious ramifications on her kids if gay people could marry. She didn't elaborate, but earlier she did say she didn't want her kids learning that same-sex couples could marry in school. And my answer is, "WHY?"

This kind of reasoning annoys me more than anything, because essentially she's blaming her decision to treat me unfairly on kids she doesn't even have yet, and absolving herself of the responsibility of her own bigotry. And I just have to ask: WHAT ARE WE PROTECTING THE CHILDREN FROM???

What ramifications are the Prop 8 people talking about? The ramifications that their kids will grow up in a world where people are recognized as equals under the law? Those ramifications??? GOD, NOT THOSE! God knows we don't want our kids thinking that it's OK to people to be who they are and to feel like they are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. Because that would just be too horrible for words.

Why is it so horrible if kids learn about same-sex love at an early age? Isn't that when they SHOULD learn about it, so that they don't grow up with the same prejudices that their parents harbor? If you want to save the children, then save them from the people who are voting yes on Prop 8. Seriously, THESE are the people who are destroying this country.

Maybe it's because I'm gay that I think we all should be equal, but I don't know... wasn't this country founded on the idea that all men are created equal? How is voting to amend our Constitution and eliminate the rights of a certain faction of people honoring those founding principals? How is this justifiable under ANY circumstances? The truth is, it's NOT. It's just plain WRONG, and I'm having a very hard time figuring out how I can still call someone my friend when they don't even think that any relationship I have is worthy enough to be protected under the law because such a thing might hurt her unborn children!

My friend said she spent a lot of time praying for her answer and that she got a very spiritual sign to vote yes for Prop 8. Since I do not share her belief in God (yet again, I am seeing how organized religion prevents otherwise intelligent people from making rational decisions), I can't look to the heavens for my answer. I'm going to have to search my heart on this one and see where it leads me. What would YOU do???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'NCIS' Star Pauley Perrette Comes Out Against Proposition 8

My neighbor and good friend, Pauley Perrette (Abbey on TV's NCIS) has written a wonderful essay on why Proposition 8 is bad for California -- and for the world in general. I knew there was a reason why I loved her so much, besides the fact that she's a pretty cool chick.

Check it out below!


By Pauley Perrette

I realize that this could be entitled “Proposition Fear” but it doesn’t rhyme and it doesn’t exemplify the true nature of the issue, either in initial intent or the inevitable outcome. Proposition 8 is an initiative on the ballot set for November 4th, 2008 that would change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry. There is nothing else to it. It is simply to “eliminate rights”.

There have been many times in the history of this country where necessary reform has been both championed and enacted. Reforming our laws can be a positive process, one which makes this country better and more true to what we stand for, such as “All men are created equal”, and “Liberty and justice for all”. In the beginning, “All men are created equal”, actually meant “All white male property owners” are created equal. Later reform meant this clause was inclusive of all white males. After a while, and an enormous amount of bloodshed, women and people of color would also be afforded most of the same rights.

Marriage has taken even longer to reform. Anti-miscegenation laws prevented couples of different races from marrying. It was a felonious crime, in which offenders could be imprisoned, and were. This may sound like ancient history, but it certainly is not. The case of Loving Vs. Virginia, which finally rid us of this unfair treatment of some of our “equals”, was only finally litigated and won 1967. California should be proud that they were, as usual, ahead of the curve: California ended anti-miscegenation laws in 1948.

There are many cultures that do not allow anyone to marry the person of their choosing at all. The person you marry is chosen for you. This practice is still in effect within certain religions. In this country, one has the right to choose their religion, thus, engaging in the tradition of your marriage partner being chosen for you, or picking your own mate, is voluntary. This should not be ruled involuntary by the state.

Religious persons are the overwhelming proponents of Proposition 8, although many do not support Proposition 8. In point of fact, two denominations, plus some religious advocates from outside of California, are taking the lead in supporting Proposition 8. In their zeal, they have made many false claims in their attempt to frighten voters into voting for Proposition 8, such as churches losing their IRS status and that same sex marriage being forced upon children in school. These allegations have been clearly stated as untruths, yet the campaign of false rhetoric continues in millions of dollars worth of false advertising..

Here’s the real truth: whether or not Proposition 8 passes, churches are allowed to discriminate against whomever they want, or to not discriminate. Some churches will not ordain women or allow them as members of the clergy. Some do. Some churches allow marriage ceremonies for anyone who wants to make that kind of commitment, some do not. Some do not allow divorce, or a divorcee to remarry. Churches are segregated, delegated and regulated by their own clergy and judicatory heads. Each of us has the choice to attend the church we want to, or none at all. Separation of church and state allows for religions to have their own set of rules as to whom they will accept and who they won’t, and the practices they support and the ones they don’t. They will continue to be able to do so. Equal rights for everyone under the law allows churches to proudly define themselves as what they do or do not support. The bottom line? Proposition 8 will not affect religious communities at all.

As far as the continuous lies about schools go, California Law prohibits any child from being taught anything about health or family issues against their parents will. Not only does Proposition 8 mention nothing about education, the Superior Court has already ruled these scare tactic claims in their current ads as false and misleading. They continue making these claims regardless of the exposition of the truth to try to instill false fear.

And what is the fear? “Protecting Marriage”, and many other varied wordings of the same sentiment, seems to be the mantra at the core of this. This is very similar to the language used in the anti-miscegenation laws of yore. “Protecting,” suggests that something is in danger, could be stolen or damaged. When others are doing the same thing you are, when they believe in the same values you do: commitment and loyalty and monogamy - doesn’t that lend support for the values of marriage? Is a gay married person going to sneak into your house in the middle of the night and steal your marriage? Your marriage may be threatened by infidelity, lack of interest, lack of commitment or tragically by abuse or deception, however, other committed married couples do not affect your marriage at all.

Many people are vehemently in objection to legal marriage all together, for anyone whatsoever, to the point where they would like to have it legally impossible for anyone to be married. Same sex couples that believe in marriage believe the same thing straight marriage oriented people do if faced with an anti-marriage for all proposal. They believe in the right to make that commitment if they want to.

Personally, I am a church-going Christian. I love my church, my congregation; it’s my favorite place to be. I feel the safest and the happiest when I am at my beloved church.
I am a straight, female, divorced Christian who has chosen an excellent mate (this time)
and am about to get married, in my church. I love my fiancé more than I thought a person could love another and thank God every day for him. Exactly the way many couples of differing races, religions and orientations feel about their beloveds. In many places and times, I would not be able to get married. Because I chose my own partner, because I was divorced years ago, because I am of Native American heritage (now mixed with several other things) or if marriage was outlawed all together, I wouldn’t be able to be married. But I can. And I am.

I have been making arrangements, calling my family, speaking with my pastor, trying to figure out what to wear; trying to make a list of invitations, the same thing many other couples have been doing. I’ve been to, and and have been in, many beautiful weddings of late. Some are same sex, some are opposite sex. They made plans for their day as I am doing now. Food, location, family, friends, flowers, reservations, flights… I’ve worn a dress, taken endless pictures and cried tears of joy for all of my friend’s nuptials in the exact same way.

The only difference is, there are people who want to amend the California Constitution in order to strip some of my friends of their marriages. Forget about the food, the location, the family, the friends, the flowers and the wonderful memories of that special day… It was their commitment and love that made me cry.

These are People.
People with pretty conservative ideals.
People who love each other so much they want to make it official and legal, have a wedding and celebrate with their loved ones. They have happy photo albums and saved their cake. They have rings and special things from their weddings. They love each other, just like straight people do.

Love is a big word. I believe in Love. I believe that God is Love. I believe in things like
1 John Chapter 4: 7-12 /20-21.

People who love each other.
Really? That is who you want to spend millions of dollars to “eliminate the rights” of?
I don’t know what church you go to, but I’m sure glad I go to mine. A church that believes in love and equality for all.

And I’m sure glad that I will not have on my conscience and in my soul that I supported a bill of hate and fear and a campaign of lies.

I am proudly voting No on Proposition 8. And am proud to be able to say years from now, when there are plenty more married couples of all types and shapes and colors and sizes trying to do the right thing with their marriage,
that I did the right thing.

I am an American who does what we say we are…
Liberty and Justice for all…
All are created equal.

And I am a Christian
Who does what it says…
Love one another…
The greatest of these is Love.

No On Prop 8.

Pauley Perrette

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