Monday, October 13, 2008

Calling all Californians -- Yes on Prop. 8

Hi -- I wrote my feelings about Proposition 8 on my blog yesterday and received an invitation to post it here on the Preserving Marriage for California's Future blog. My privilege! Read below:

I hesitate to write something political on my blog. I know others do all the time, but I like to keep mine mainly about food and fitness. But in this case, I just want to express my views about what's happening in California right now with Proposition 8. It's an ugly fight. It's sad that we have to fight about it.

This proposition is the same as Proposition 22, which won in California's 2000 election with a 61% vote. Its states "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

I voted yes in 2000 and was upset when I heard in May of this year that 4 members of the California Supreme Court found a loophole in the previous proposition (it hadn't been written into the California State Constitution) and reversed the vote of the citizens. I was upset first of all that the voice of the people was being ignored. It made me feel like I could vote for anything and it wouldn't matter, because a few in office could just decide that they had the power to fulfill their political desires at the neglect of the people. I was ready to leave the state. California has been our home for many years, but if the values do not reflect mine and I can't have a say in them, I'd rather move to a state who is willing to respect them.

I was happy to hear that the proposition would be on the ballot again this November. If Proposition 8 passes, it will become a state amendment and cannot be overturned.

From what I understand, the only states in our country that allow same-sex couples to be married are Massachusetts and Connecticut. New York recognizes same-sex marriages from out of state. Vermont and New Jersey both grant the same rights to same-sex couples in a civil union as they do for married couples. This is where California stood before the supreme court overturn.

California already has the same laws in place as New Jersey and Vermont. The No on 8 signs say "Equality for All" and are alluding to the idea that if Proposition 8 passes, that gay couples will not have equal rights. There is already a Domestic Partnership law in California that states that they do have all those rights that a state can grant to married couples. Yes on 8 would not reverse that or change it in any way.

Proposition 8 is NOT an attack on gay couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under California’s domestic partner law. I respect the rights of others to choose how they live their lives and form their homes, but not to change the definition of marriage for everyone else. Changing the definition of a societal institution is not a right. Being treated with kindness, love and dignity is. I wouldn't treat anyone any other way.

I've been walking neighborhoods and have been making phone calls for the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign and it saddens me that there are so many assumptions about those who would vote "Yes." I have found that people of all opinions are much nicer in person than on the phone. Maybe it's the face to face contact -- enjoying each other's company, seeing into each other's hearts that helps keep the comments kind when in person. But on the phone, I've been told we are bigots, that we don't care about others' rights and freedom, that we shouldn't tell others what to do with their lives, and quite a few more choice words. I haven't engaged in the arguments. I don't think I would or could change any minds. I just thank them for their opinions and go on. I know if I met these same people on the street or in the store, we would smile and talk and assume each other as friends. That's how it is in our community. We care and we share.

I have friends from long ago and recent friends who are homosexual. I have a few relatives who are too. I don't treat them any different than anyone else. I enjoy their company and see the magnitude of their beings. I just have to make that clear because a friend of mine saw a bumper sticker on another mom's car at preschool that said, "8 is Hate -- Vote No on 8." I don't think that's a fair assumption to make. Everyone I know who is in favor of Proposition 8 has no hatred whatsoever towards people who are gay.

I do believe, however, that if the same-sex couples had the title of marriage for their union (which is the only thing a "No" vote on this proposition would give -- as I mentioned before, they already have all the rights of married couples), there would be a lot of changes that would impact my family and the rights of me as a parent. I want to protect my rights and freedom. I want to protect my children from being indoctrinated without my consent.

I just went to the No on 8 website to see what it was about and saw that they are claiming the Yes on 8 ads stating that children will be taught about gay marriage in school if this doesn't pass isn't true. I can't see how they can claim that. This is already being done here in California and has been done in Massachusetts since gay marriage became legal. First of all, just last week, a first grade class in San Francisco was taken on a field trip to a gay wedding. That sounds like educating the children about gay marriage to me. Secondly, there have already been initiatives on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk to be signed last year, wanting to change the textbooks for school children to reflect the gay lifestyle. Another bill came across his desk recently to declare a day in school for Harvey Milk -- the first gay politician in California -- to teach the children about him and his significance. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed that.

I don't understand how it's seen as okay for the values or morals of one group to be taught at a school when it's universally known now that schools are not the place to teach religion. If I had proposed a day for the school children to learn about Jesus, the life he lived and the influence he's had over time, there would be no question that this wasn't appropriate for school. Some parents would be outraged and many would support that. It's something that parents have the right to teach in their homes. They want to send their children to school, not worrying that the teachings will contradict the beliefs they hold & teach at home. Yet other differing morals like homosexuality is seen as a right for children to be taught at school by many. Just because homosexuality is not a religion doesn't mean it's a value-based teaching that doesn't belong in the schools.

I saw this video clip earlier this week about a family in Massachussetts who learned abruptly with their Kindergartner how the schools saw their role in teaching their son. I don't want my rights as a parent to be taken from me like it was for them. There's definitely more to the "No on 8" vote than meets the eye.

Here's the clip: family research council video

Here's the Yes on 8 website if you want to learn more about that position:

If you don't agree with my stance on this, I hope you don't get angry or think I'm being unfair. We just see things differently and I respect that. I hope we can still share in discussions about food, fitness, and family. TTFN! -- Renee

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ms. lee of the lemon drops said...

Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone's rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union that is biologically capable of producing its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name--even the potential is kind of a miracle.

Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.

Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.

peace out

Bees said...

I am curious as to what "yes on prop 8"ers think about Athiest men and women getting married since a lot of you seem to believe that marriage is a religious institution...?

Christa Jeanne said...

Excellent point, Ms. Lee!

Bees - although I believe that marriage is a divine institution, I do not believe it is "religious," per se. There's a distinction there. I believe that it was created by God - but it's not "religious" as in a function of a church or faith.

The family is also the fundamental, basic unit of any society - and that has no regard to religion or faith. See my post titled "Sometimes love just ain't enough," which sticks to sociological arguments.