The Why and Wherefore

No on 8

Posted on: October 27, 2008

I live in California, and I’m getting married next year. My fiance is a man. So, this is not a problem, regardless of what happens on Nov. 4.

But for lots of my friends, colleagues and fellow citizens, the turnout of religious fundamentalists to vote against equality could doom their chances of getting legally married in their home state.

Thanks in no small part to Jerry Brown, who re-worded Prop 8 to make it more accurate, we stand a good chance of retaining hard-won equality in California. But the New York Times reports that out-of-state religious leaders have poured money and effort into California in hopes of enshrining inequality in our state constitution. (And what’s Connecticut, chopped liver?)

And they aren’t taking the high road. Their ads have been filled with outright lies, claiming that churches which refuse to perform gay marriages will be penalized (not true) or that “gay marriage will be taught in kindergarten,” whatever that even means.

I have said a hundred times — and once I think it even got through to a conservative guy who hadn’t thought of it that way — that the issue of gay marriage is absolutely no different from the issue of interracial marriage. The argument against the latter was also religiously based; people argued that God had put the races on different continents because he didn’t want us to intermingle.

In fact, a 74-year-old in Virginia was quoted in the Times saying just that… TWO WEEKS AGO:

“I would think of him as I would of another of mixed race,” said Glenn Reynolds [referring to Obama], 74, a retired textile worker in Martinsville, Va., and a former supervisor at a Goodyear plant. “God taught the children of Israel not to intermarry. You should be proud of what you are, and not intermarry.”

I don’t think anyone today (except Glenn Reynolds and his ilk) would argue that the Supreme Court should have waited until everyone felt OK with interracial marriage to legalize it. If that were the case, I’m sure it would still be illegal in more than a few states.

The same is true of gay marriage. Your squeamishness (and that’s really what it is, disguised as religious belief) does not trump any other citizen’s right to the full privileges of civil and cultural society (not to mention legal rights). Permitting two people who love each other to get married has NO DISCERNIBLE IMPACT on your marriage, my marriage or anyone else’s marriage.

Which “demeans” the institute of marriage more? The wedding of a committed, loving couple of the same gender, or a drive-thru Vegas chapel open to any two people of the opposite sex? Sure, some same-sex couples will get married for the wrong reasons, or divorce, or cheat on each other, or have nasty custody battles.

Just like straight couples do.

You would think that social conservatives would jump at the chance to welcome more people into the fold of committed monogamy and child-rearing, instead of hysterically trying to keep “those people” out.

I have a lot of hope. A year in which the crazed right-wing fundamentalist vice-presidential candidate is forced to say that being gay isn’t wrong is a good year, and a much better year than four years ago in that regard.

But next week, here in California, it’s the progressives who will be standing up for family values.

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2 Responses to "No on 8"

Hmm! I hope Martinsville doesn’t have any nice wineries that I might want to go to. Apparently people there won’t like me. Or me and Pat, for that matter. Awesome.

Well, as a product of interracial marriage myself, and as someone who grew up in that crazy Connecticut (where the state constitution upholds silly concepts like EQUALITY), let me just assure all those naysayers that I turned out completely awesome. I promise.

I said awesome twice. Also, I wanted to say that maybe they care about California and not Connecticut because it’s SO HUGE in comparison? Also, because I don’t think the Connecticut law is going to go up for ballot measure anytime soon. State Constitution and all.

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