Prop 8 Supporters, We Gotta Talk
O.K., all you folks who voted for Proposition 8, to take the right to marry away from your fellow citizens here in Calif. We, gotta talk. Enough with the vague code words and undefined terms. Please, ya gotta answer – specifically – some of my questions.
1. In a Tribune letter, Neal O’Hagan of Arroyo Grande noted that Prop 8 didn’t remove any rights. He said, “Often the example is the right town property with a partner and visit in hospitals. Surely anyone with motivation can find a courthouse and the appropriate forms to address those issues without forcing the rest of us to redefine a word that the entire planet has agreed on for a thousand years.”
In civil law, the term and the legal document – a marriage license – creates a whole set of rights and responsibilities and benefits all under one roof, so to speak. One stop shopping and ka-boom, you get a whole list of things denied to single people (and now gay people since they are denied the right to EVER get them wherein singles can actually get “married.”) Now, Dear Neal, please explain to me why California citizen X can get a bundle of benefits in one fell swoop, while citizen Y has to chase all over town, from lawyer to bureaucrat to court to and county, state and federal departments, pay extra fees and be swamped by a raft of separate paperwork? What compelling state interest is promoted by Citizen Y having to doing that?
2. Back to Mr. O’Hagan again. Please tell me – exactly – why and how letting gay citizens “marry” will force you to redefine the word marry? When Citizen X is born a chromosome male and later in life decides he wants to undergo a gender reassignment process and become a “woman,” is that suppose to force me – a chromosome female – to “redefine” the word “woman?” Or get all huffy and say, “AW, GAWD, that Chromosome Citizen X over there is calling himself a “woman.” Eeeeuuuu, as a “real” woman, I’m outraged and so will start a constitutional amendment to forbid anyone but a “real” chromosome woman to call herself a “woman.” I don’t think so.
So, Mr. O’Hagan needs to ‘splain how having a gay couple say they’re “married” changes the meaning of the word “marriage.” In the state of California, marriage is marriage. Same for citizen X as for Y. The meaning of the word stays the same. No need to redefine anything, unless Mr. O’Hagan is afraid someone might think he’s gay? If so, he can always say, “I’m married, but I don’t have one of those “gay marriages,” MY marriage is the REAL marriage, see? I’m not gay. No, I’m not. Really, I’m not. Why are you looking at me funny?”
3. Once again, Prop 8 supporters, ya gotta ‘splain how letting Gay Citizen X’s marry will destroy marriage. I don’t get that part. If you’re a married straight couple and some gay folks across town get married, are you gonna have to go into marriage counseling? Do you think the state will suddenly come in and say, “Oh, you’re not gay? Sorry, you can’t remain married. Only gay citizens can get married, not YOU?” What?
4. Mr. O’Hagan again, “I applaud the Mormon church for taking on the issue. I encourage other people of faith to stop being afraid to defend traditional biblical values. There is room for more than one value set to coexist and overlap.”
Uh, Mr. O’Hagan, I hate to be the one to inform you, but you will need to define – exactly – just what “traditional biblical values” you’re talking about: polygamy? Stoning to death of adulterers? No divorce? Keeping slaves? Marrying your brother’s widow? What? Also, are you aware that there’s a whole lot of folks in this secular, multi- cultural, multi-religious, multi-racial country who don’t believe in “biblical values.” Your statement makes it appear that “biblical values” are a given? They’re not. Weirdly, you also add, “there is room for more than one value set to coexist and overlap.” Not for supporters of Prop. 8, clearly. Only ONE VALUE SET there.
5. And you have to get honest about bringing kids into the mix. Using the usual scare tactics about “teaching gay marriage in the schools,” is really dishonest – not a biblical value. First, if you so hate and fear gay folks that you don’t want’ your kids even knowing such people exist, you really will need to isolate your children from society in general – homeschool, no TV, no movies, no popular culture (and better check the classics since some of those books were written by EEEEUUUUU, gay people.) The state gives you, as parents, that right.
As for trying to foster the notion that marriage is about “family,” please be aware that gay couple have kids, many of them genetically their own, (i.e. “real” kids), adopted kids and/or blended kids from previous marriages, & etc, just like straight married couples do. So trying to make people think that anti-marriage initiatives are an effort to “protect the family,” just don’t fly in the real world. Even more troubling for the straight “values crowd,” the straight world has now got a huge variety of different ways to constitute “family,” that it’s hard to even define that word any more. Which means, the Prop 8 supporters need to be careful: the “family” sword they try to wield as a weapon against gay folks can turn and cut their own supporters to the bone as well. Two divorced straight people re-married and living in a blended family are NOT upholding “traditional biblical values.” We need to stone them.
One of the most interesting moments in this whole debate came on the Dr. Phil show. He had the usual high-profile pro/con spokespeople up on the stage, but the truly fascinating moment came when he did a video profile of two couples – one gay, one straight. Except for gender, they were identical and spoke of the same concerns and issues – raising their kids, living a good life in peace, committed to their partners & etc. When the film clips ended, the gay man turned to the straight woman and very movingly said how he totally respected her religious beliefs but pointed out that he and his partner were “married” in their synagogue by their rabbi, their union WAS holy and blessed, they, like the straight couple, were religious folks, good folks who loved their two daughters, had a regular family life, doing regular family things and simply wanted the same treatment as the straight couple.
Suddenly, a look crossed this woman’s face as she looked at the young man and you knew, suddenly, she “got it.” Their “marriage” was no different than her “marriage,” except for gender. Their life was no different from her life, except for gender. And at that moment, her poorly defined “values” arguments fell apart and you knew she’d be left to think about what her real objections were. Which gets to the heart of this whole matter.
Dear Prop 8 supporters, before this battle heats up again, you need to ‘splain -- exactly – what it is you really object to here. What’s really behind the fear? Once you can get honest about that, then it’s possible to have a discussion about “marriage” in general and “gay marriage” specifically. But until you can separate all of the buzz words and code words and hidden fears and muddled beliefs and clearly define each, what we’ll end up with is irrational action and a dangerous blending of church and state, separate but equal citizenship, and the tyranny of the majority over the minority, all things this country’s constitution was designed to protect against.