Friday, October 31, 2008

This is why.

Today's guest post comes from my ever-insightful cousin Christopher, who posted this on Facebook. It's one of the best letters I've read on the subejct - I re-post with his permission:

I'm voting YES on Proposition 8.

I feel very strongly about this issue, and I'm afraid my position has offended or alienated some of my friends and loved ones, even some that I hold very dear. In many of the things I've read opposing Proposition 8, I've read over and over that anyone who is in favor of this amendment must be motivated by either hate, ignorance, or both. For these reasons, I feel strongly that I need to explain why I believe what I do, and why I'm voting the way I am.

First of all, I hope that anyone who knows me well knows that hate is not a motivation for anything that I do or believe. I don't hate anyone for their lifestyle choices, sexual preference, political views, or any other possible reason - no matter how much I may disagree with them.

Second, I don't believe that I'm ignorant about the issue or what it entails. I've spent long hours deliberating on it and what it would mean if this proposition does or does not pass. I've explored the materials and sites both for and against the proposition. I have friends on both sides of the fence for various reasons, and I respect all of their opinions. After all my time and thought into the issue, to call me ignorant for choosing to vote YES is simply dismissive - it doesn't allow me the privilege to be both intelligent and of a different opinion than your own.

So why am I voting YES on Proposition 8? It's simply because I don't believe that the state of California should recognize same-sex unions as equal to traditional marriage between a man and woman. Let me first be clear - it is very important to me that everyone is allowed all of the same civil rights that I enjoy - regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference. A committed gay couple should be allowed all the same civil rights, liberties and privileges as a married heterosexual couple - and they currently are under California State Law (California Family Code 297.5). Proposition 8 will not change that. All that Proposition 8 is concerned with is what the State defines as "marriage" - whether it is between a man and a woman, or whether it's between any two people, regardless of gender.

To understand why I feel so strongly about this, you need to understand what I believe marriage fundamentally is, and therefore why I believe we cannot change it's definition. I believe that marriage is much more than just a manifestation of love between two people - but that at its most fundamental level, marriage is a commitment between two people to start a family together. While not all marriages result in children, all of the benefits granted by governments to married couples are designed to protect and preserve the institution of the family, and protect the rights of children. In 2006, a commission of the State National Assembly of France, a nation that allows civil unions but not same-sex marriages, cited this same reasoning, stating, "Marriage is not merely the contractual recognition of the love within a couple. It is a framework with rights and obligations conceived in order to welcome the child and provide for his harmonious development". (Read the full transcript here:

I believe that the best way for a child to be raised is in a home with a loving mother and father - this provides the child with the best opportunity to lead a productive and healthy life psychologically, physiologically, and sociologically. The French commission also expressed this, saying "inasmuch as there is absolutely no reason to doubt the educative and emotional qualities of homosexual parents, we do not yet know all the effects on the construction of the adopted child's psychological identity. As long as there is uncertainty, however small, is it not in the best interest of the child to apply the precautionary principle, as is done in other domains?" I understand that there are countless failed heterosexual marriages that lead to less-than-ideal circumstances for children to be raised in, and I'll admit that I'd rather see a child raised by a loving gay couple than an abusive father or absent mother. But the fact remains that the ideal circumstance, as far as we can tell, is that of a loving mother and father in the home. For that reason, I believe it is our place as a society to uphold the ideal, and then as individuals try to live up to it as best we can.

I'm also worried about the effect that not passing Proposition 8 will have on religious liberties in general. If same-sex marriage is considered equal with traditional marriage, then it will have to be treated as equal in every State-sponsored sense - which will have significant effects on religious and educational institutions. Already, religious individuals and institutions are being told they must honor homosexual activities that are contrary to their religion on issues ranging from religious adoption services having to place children with same-sex couples to religious educational institutions being required to house same-sex couples in their dorms (read the NPR article here: Legalizing same-sex marriage is a significant step toward limiting the first-amendment rights of those who, for religious reasons, do not agree with homosexuality.

With all of that said, I am religious and I have a deep faith in a living God. I am very aware that many would call my faith simply ignorance, and I'm sorry if you think so. I believe in the God of the Old and the New Testament, and I believe that he is very much alive and speaking to man today. I believe that God has clearly stated what he defines as marriage, as well as outlined what his plan is for human sexuality (i.e. only between a man and a woman). Therefore, I cannot in good faith say that I believe in the Bible and follow its teachings, and at the same time support same-sex marriage. I've also been told that my denying marriage to same-sex couples is "un-Christian" and intolerant - that Christ himself would want everyone to be able to live in the way that they deem appropriate. In my reading of the New Testament, I cannot find any support for this view from the Savior's life. Jesus loved and served everyone that he met, and preached that we should all do the same. However, not once did he ever excuse anyone in their sins or disobedience - rather he would preach to those he loved and cared about, earnestly hoping that they would change and follow Him. He was the perfect example of loving the sinner and hating the sin. I can only hope to do the same.

I don't know everything. In fact, in the big scheme of things I know very little. But if there really is a God, and He really has made His will known, then I believe our best bet would be to follow His counsel. I really do believe that God has spoken and that by following what He has outlined, we will be better off both as a society and as individuals. Even if you don't agree, I hope that you can understand why I feel the way I do, and why I will be voting YES on Proposition 8.

(Please also read:

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JJ said...

That is one of the best thought out and well spoken defenses of Prop 8 I have read. Thank you for posting it.

Hizzeather said...

Well done! Once again someone who is a better writer than I put into words the exact feelings of my heart. I wish I could plagerize him and send that to everyone I know! Instead I'll just send them a link here. Great post! Thank you!