It's early Sunday morning, and I am looking around the web on what is going on on what I consider a more important issue than this year's presidential election: protecting the right to marry the person they love for every Californian. On May 15, the California Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry was a fundamental right under the equal protection clause of the California State Constitution. Now, conservative reactionary right wing fundamentlists hate groups have put on the ballot something called "Proposition 8", a ballot initiative that would write in the Constitution of our state discrimination against same sex couples and remove this fundamental right.
What's more hideous is that these right wing fundamentalist groups see clearly that the future is free from their form of hatred and prejudice. Polls have found that two-thirds of young people in California oppose Prop 8 and support the right of all loving (adult) couples to enter into marriage, and so, they are putting on an effort to spread their hatred among people my age. They are funding this website, iProtectMarriage.com, where they have picked and recruited some young folk who either have sold their soul for money, or are too happy to have an avenue to spread hatred. I for one would like to know if these people are actually Californians and where in California they are registered to vote.
But here, I will take on their arguments one by one.
One, the most insidious of their lies: that homosexuality is a choice, that people can change it and as such the prohibition against same sex marriage should not be seen as akin to the prohibition against interracial marriage. The first counter on this is that this is a flat out lie. I am gay, and I can tell you emphatically that it is as engrained in me as my race (Asian Indian), my gender (male) and my number of toes (10).
Secondly, the real argument is not whether sexual orientation can be changed but whether it should, even if that were possible. I would like to ask the people of color that take great umbrage on the website at the suggestion of comparing the prohibition against gay marriage with that against interracial marriage, if you could change your race, would you? Some might say you can change your outward racial appearance ... ask Michael Jackson. Would it be ok for other people to suggest that you do so? Would it be OK for the state to deny you rights because you refused to change your race, in the imaginary event that it were possible? If you cannot answer 'yes' to all three, you are all hypocrites.
Third, what does whether something like race or sexual orientation can be changed have to do with restrictions of marriage law, anyway? If you are someone who opposes same sex marriage and supports interracial ones - and maybe you are even someone who is in love with someone not of your race - why can't you just find someone your own race to fall in love with? Hmm? Why can't the state tell you to find someone of your own race to marry? Obviously, that won't be an impediment to what you seem to think is the primary purpose of marriage: having children. No? Oh, I see. You don't want the government telling you who you can and cannot fall in love with. And when you do fall in love with someone, you don't want the government stopping you from getting married. But you are perfectly willing to impose those exact things on gays and lesbians. Did I say you are hypocrites?
Two, same sex marriage isn't a civil right because that would make incest, polygamy and marriage with a child also civil rights. First of all, if you want to talk about polygamy, I suggest you look within your own ranks, religous fundamentalists. It does not take gay marriage to sanction polygamy, as polygamy has existed in more societies than same sex marriage ever has. Same is the case with marrying off children and incest. So, look in the damn mirror first.
I did not want to have to do this, but since the Catholic Church is behind efforts to stop same sex marriage on these grounds, let me point the finger in the Church leadership's eyes and take them on a time machine few years back when the scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing children - especially young boys - became legendary.
But going back to the issue at hand, marrying children is never a civil right because children cannot enter a contract on their own. Marriage is a contract. Children have limited ability to give informed consent, hence cannot enter into a contract. That ends the argument right there. Incest can be mostly attributable to the same issues - where the freedom of consent may be jeopardized by pressures of family, and it has socially produced more abuse than anything else. Same for polygamy. But again, I point to you that NONE of these are even remotely related to same sex marriage, since all of these things have happened without same sex marriage. So spare me this "the sky is falling" bullshit.
Three, who'll think of the children? Children can't grow up without a mom and a dad! This is of course a lie. We all know conservative concern for children are all crocodile tears once the children are out of the womb. Nonetheless, I will address the merits. No comprehensive study has ever shown that children are in fact worse off with two same sex parents than with two opposite sex ones. Period. It is not the gender of the parents that matter - it is the love and care and support they are able to provide for their children. It's not even just the number of parents. A vast number of things, including resources and support available to the children and the parents both in school and in the community matters. The economic condition of the parents matter. Conservatives are quick to point out the plight of fatherless children, but they are hard pressed to address the fact that children become fatherless (or lack one parent) largely in communities that are devastated by economic hardships and a lack of the ladder of opportunity. They are quick to chastise children born out of wedlock, but refuse to understand the importance of comprehensive sex education. They are quick to condemn communities pleagued with gang violence, but will not recognize the need for economic support in schools for after school programs. So, yes, spare me the crocodile tears. If you are concerned about children, shed your dogma and provide support for all parents, all children in all communities so they can all have a better shot at life.
Four, gasp, the children again! Kindergarteners might have to be taught about same sex marriage! Oh, the horror! How horrible it would be if our children were taught that the two mommies of their friend Johnny love him just as much as the mom and dad of their other friend Jill love her! Listen, if kindergarteners are taught about marriage at all - then yes, they should be taught about all marriages and all families. But why do I get the feeling that kids 2-6 are not usually taught about intricate details of what goes on in Mom and Dad's bedroom? Basically, they are trying to insinuate that little kids might be taught about homosexual sex. What the idiots don't realize is that by that, they are saying that kindergarteners are currently taught about heterosexual sex. Which is false, of course.
Five, health! Heterosexually married men live longer, healthier, happier, richer lives. Duh. What they won't tell you, of course, is that pretty much all the data available is on heterosexually married men, and pretty much none on gay-married people. Meaning that there is no basis for comparison. And that's even besides the point. If we found out, for example, that men married to older women live longer, healthier, happier, richer lives than men married to younger women, should we ban heterosexual marriages where the female partner is younger? It's just a stupid, idiotic argument that has no bearings on the issue.
Six, and here's the hammer - attack on religious liberty! Oh, no!! If gay marriages remain legal, these idiots claim, that Churches and other religious organizations that refuse to marry gay couples could be sued. Umm, no. Plenty of religious institutions right this minute refuse to sanction many heterosexual marriages that are sanctioned by secular state law in California. Catholic Churches doctrinally do not sanction second marriages (after a divorce) but the state of California does. No one is screaming that the Catholic Church should be sued because it won't allow some marriages legally allowed in California. Many religous houses of worship do not allow interreligious marriages - both partners must of the particular house's persuation. But the State of California allows interfaith marriages just the same. Conversely, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Church has been blessing same sex marriages for a long time - marriages which, prior to the Supreme Court decision, were not recognized by the state of California. So this idea that religious houses of worship would or could ever be forced to comply with the marriage laws of the state is absolutely ludicrous.
The second argument on religious liberty is that doctors will no longer be able to discriminate against same sex couples because of their religious convictions - in cases like, say, artificial insemination for lesbian couples. Yes, that's true. Doctors do not practice medicine under a license issued by the Church. They practice medicine under a license issued by the State of California. And that means they will need to conform to the laws of the state. If you are a doctor and your religion tells you not to treat people of another faith, you need to find another line of work, because you are about to lose your license. It is no different for this case. If you are a licensed professional who is unable to meet the requirements of that license, it's time for you to find another line of work.
My Appeal: If you live in California, please support the right of all loving couples (adults) to be married if they choose. VOTE NO ON PROP 8. In the end, even though sexuality is not a choice, marriage always is. And the fundamental right to choose to enter into that special covenet and contract should belong to all Californians, regardless of the gender of the person they love.