Sunday, October 12, 2008

Denying rights - but whose?

My uncle Jeff wrote this insightful letter to the editor that I'd like to share with you:

In the recent vice presidential debate, both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin declared their support of equal rights for gays and lesbians but opposition to same-sex marriage. Last summer, four Justices of the California Supreme Court decided that equal rights required same-sex-marriage. The difference between Biden/Palin and the Court is the meaning of “equal.” Proposition 8 allows Californians to choose between Biden/Palin’s and the Court’s concept of equal rights.

In an effort to grant rights to some, the Court’s approach runs the danger of denying rights to others. In Canada, it is a crime, “hate speech,” for ministers to teach that God condemns homosexuality. The Catholic Charities in Boston closed rather than comply with a government requirement that the Charities facilitate adoptions by same-sex couples. A Methodist facility in New Jersey lost its tax-exempt status because it refused to celebrate a same-sex civil union on its premises.

Limiting speech, closing religious organizations, and economically penalizing those who reject same-sex marriage is not equal and is destructive of rights. Equal treatment based on respect for our differences is the true expression of equal rights.

This issue is too important to let four people decide. Voting “Yes” on Proposition 8 puts California law back as it was before the Court redefined marriage. Reversing the Court’s ill-advised decision allows further deliberation so that future governmental action does not benefit some at the expense of others.

I have strong personal opinions on the subject of same-sex marriage. Many on both sides of the issue do. That is not the point. The question is how to accommodate persons of differing beliefs so that the rights of all are equally protected. Voting “Yes” on Proposition 8 allows this debate to continue without forcing a premature, one-sided and unequal end to the discussion.

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FS Carrie said...

if the concern is how the state will handle law suits against churches, the prop should be about granting churches the right to deny weddings (which I think will always be upheld anyway), not about banning peoples' right to be married by the state.