Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Understanding our Differences

I had an upsetting and somewhat negative experience yesterday when a NO voter responded to my enthusiasm for the YES on Proposition 8 campaign by calling me a bigot. While upsetting, I knew I couldn't take it personal.

The following are the words of a friend in response to all the negative question and comments being thrown at us with regards to our favorable stance on Prop 8. Take a moment to educate yourself. You may just be asked these questions yourself:


I'm going to vote yes on Prop 8 and here are some of my thoughts on why I feel the way I do.

Are you a bigot?
Those of you who disagree with me are probably thinking, wow, this girl is so intolerant. She’s a bigot who doesn’t want to grant homosexuals the status of “married.”

Let me begin by saying that I do not hate homosexuals and I do not believe in discriminating against an individual because of their sexual orientation. Let me assure you that you can vote “yes” to prop 8 and not be a bigot. I am a Christian and as such I strive to love all of God’s children. Please note that while I strive to love everyone, that does not mean that I am required to love everyone’s behavior. You may have heard this before, but Christ loves the sinner and not the sin. I strive to follow Christ’s example.

What about equal rights?
Secondly, you might say, if you say you think homosexuals should be treated fairly, then why can’t they be “married?” What about “equal rights?”

When I hear the phrase equal rights, I instantly think “of course I want equal rights for everyone.” No one should be mistreated or given fewer opportunities because of who they are.

However, I don’t think marriage is a “right.” To me, a “right” is someone’s ability to act, think and live as they choose to as long as they don’t infringe on another’s right to do the same. Currently, homosexuals have the same rights as anyone else. Prop 8 would not take away any of these rights.

Marriage is an institution.
Marriage, on the other hand, is an institution that’s granted by the government. Furthermore, the civil institution of marriage is not granted based on the love between two people. Marriage as far as the government should be concerned, is an institution that is given civil approval and benefits because of what it stands for: the opportunity to reproduce and create more members of society. The full benefits of marriage are preserved for that unique union between a man and a woman where a family can naturally be created.

If you insist in thinking marriage benefits are the “rights” that should be granted by the government to anyone, what about a polygamist’s “right” to marry more than one person? Should the government put its official stamp and give marriage benefits to every member in that type of union? What about a daughter’s “right” to marry her father? If you think that’s too far out there, check this out: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23494958-5001028,00.html. The government does not have to give the title and benefits of marriage to any type of couple or union. Again, if you consider it a “right” of an individual to get marriage benefits based on who they love, you should also believe that there be no limit to the definition of marriage because that would take away someone’s right.

What about Civil Unions?
Opponents of prop 8 also say “don’t you think it’s unfair that dedicated couples can’t visit one another under certain situations when they’re in the hospital because that’s only reserved for family?” Actually, yes. I think that particular situation does seem a bit unfair. But, we don’t need to change the definition of marriage to change specific situations and benefits. I think we can grant rights to those who chose to have a civil union, while still remembering that the institution of marriage and the full benefits thereof are reserved to be between one man and one woman.

Passing prop 8 would not take away any individual rights of homosexuals. Our country allows (and would continue to allow if prop 8 were passed) people to be free to do as they choose. Again, government does not need to recognize every behavior and put it at the same level of what biologically is still true today: children result from a man and a woman.

Furthermore, homosexuals have the same individual rights as anyone else; they cannot be discriminated against when applying for a job, they are not assigned a special section on public buses. Gays aren’t mistreated, and they don’t have fewer opportunities as homosexuals. If they are mistreated or discriminated against as individuals, that is against the current law and further has nothing to do with Proposition 8.

Consequences if Prop 8 does not pass.
If prop 8 does NOT pass, it would redefine the traditional and I would say moral definition of the sacred institution of marriage. This institution of marriage as between a man and a woman has been defined by cultures worldwide throughout time and is "based on biology not bigotry." Society and government's interest in marriage has been for the procreation powers which are naturally only afforded to be between only one man and one women.

Also, if proposition 8 does not pass, there will be an intolerance of religious ideals that homosexual behavior is a sin. If you want some evidence of this, check out this article from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191

I don't want anyone to be sued for their religious beliefs or their personal right to feel one way or another about homosexuality. A stance against promoting homosexual behavior does not infringe on homosexual person's rights; it does not punish, control or inhibit in any way their behavior or ideas. But why now is it ok for the courts to say that a private doctor has to give in vitro fertilization to someone even if it goes against that doctor’s religion? Why are private adoption agency’s being forced to either close or go against their religious beliefs and place children in homosexual homes? To me, that’s the real infringement of rights: suing someone because they are following their religious beliefs while not harming anyone. That’s not what America stands for.

In conclusion, I will be voting “yes” on prop 8 this November 4th. I hope my arguments have helped you at least understand my position.

FYI Here are a few politicians that agree that gay marriage should not be recognized by the government:

Barak Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73oZ_pe1MZ8

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9ZYWY3UnNk

Hillary Clinton: "Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman."

5 comments:

Christa Jeanne said...

EXCELLENT post!!!

emily said...

i love this post. thank you thank you.

the more i study this subject, the more i realize that we are forgetting about the children.

because our society is so individual based, we have forgotten that really, the ONLY reason government is concerned about marriage is because of children. People get all crazy about this fact. Because of course some couples can't have kids and some choose not to have children. These are outlying factors.

Marriage is meant to grant children automatic safety, two parents.

People talk about how this issue parallels with the civil rights movement, slavery, etc. The only similarity I see, is that children aren't allowed to vote.

I see this mainly as an issue of mainstreaming homosexuality. Gaining the title "Marriage" is the wrong venue to achieve this goal. Ultimately it affects children.

this is from the american college of pediatricians. please read it.

http://www.acpeds.org/index.cgi?CONTEXT=art&cat=10005&art=50&BISKIT=711636269

Sarah said...

"Also, if proposition 8 does not pass, there will be an intolerance of religious ideals that homosexual behavior is a sin."

The Christian view of homosexuality is widely known.

It should also be known that people will not stand for inequality. Nor will they let the church be able to dictate the actions of nonchristians.

Jayms said...

Before I respond to this article I just would like to give a little unexpected praise. As a 22 year old gay man I dove into reading about this issue and this blog skeptically. However I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the more moderate and reasonable tone here lends itself to being very intelligent. My quest to learn about this issue has become more about trying to understand why it exists and why a good portion of people seem to have this fear of homosexuals. I really like this blog even though I don't agree on every issue.

I'll write that again: I really like this blog even though I don't agree on every issue.

Lets start at the top then. Whoever called you a bigot I believe has been misinformed. Also this behavior is counter productive. Shame on them. I do however disagree with you but do not think you are ignorant. I think you have a good grasp on what you are talking about. I just disagree. And as the son of a minster and having had both of my parents attend and receive certification from seminaries I think the adding your belief in God right there doesn't prove you innocent of bigotry (which this entire article proves, you aren't a bigot) it just shows a tolerant Christian view. Which is a good thing in and of itself and while I feel there is plenty to say on the issue of sexuality vs. religion that might be better left for later.

Here is where I run into some trouble. Marriage aside, I'm confused about how the small handful of rights normally associated with a civil union qualify as anywhere near a marriage. I'm totally willing to leave adoption and all of the issues having to do with gays and children out for the moment and guess that a civil union is still not coming anywhere near the number of additional benefits granted by the government to married couples (there are over a thousand). I would say it falls hundreds short. The issue to me is not whether marriage is a right or an institution it is about the rights and benefits granted through marriage that I am denied. Also I'm not buying that marriage is about procreation. If that were the case rights should be denied to marriages that don't result in children. Many marriage benefits purely are about supporting the two parties involved in the marriage. Also the term naturally sounds like artificial insemination is frowned upon.

I'm going to go ahead and whole heartedly agree that no one should be marrying their fathers. Polygamy is also its own basket and I'm going to say that the subtle comparison to gay marriage is a little far fetched. (I don't really support polygamy, I just don't get the argument here)

Thank you SO MUCH for the part about the hospitals. For my first read of this post this was a saving grace. This is exactly what I'm saying. If a civil union was anywhere close (like 75-80% even) to what a marriage is I feel like this would be such a non-issue particularly in this sort of situation where is is unfair and harmless to correct.

While I was hoping to avoid getting into this calling homosexuality a sin seems slightly flawed to me. The bible also calls women property especially in the old testament. It goes to the point that this blog in and of itself includes women acting politically which would seem to be in direct violating of how the bible says women should act. I'm going out on a limb to say that I'm really glad we have progressed outside of that view and thinking of homosexuality as a sin is falling into the same category. Women are born women and I can only speak for myself but I was born gay. I didn't ask to be here but I can't imagine being created for the sole purpose of sin. I'm not saying you can't believe that homosexuality is a sin because you have stated your tolerance of gay people and that right there makes backlash intolerance really a horrid thing. And the court shouldn't be able to make that doctor do that I agree. Same with the church or whoever else. I think it is kind of sad that is even an issue but I think you are dead on if that is what these people believe.

All in all you have a really good and thought provoking post and blog going here. Its awesome. I think overall you have an outstanding viewpoint on this issue and a level head. It defiantly didn't sway my opinion but I had to think about these issues and your stand point alittle more. I hope nothing I have said came off as offensive or rude I am trying to be constructive and learn more about this view of the issue and because of the intelligent manner this blog is presented I thought this might be a good place. I also am not looking to change your minds or grant you any of my "limitless wisdom" or any of that sort of thing. I have a lot to learn and understand and I hope that talking about this issue will allow some of that for myself and anyone involved.

Also, while this article is definitely based with perspective toward proposition 8, there is a huge argument about marriage and as the previous reply mentions children having two parents, what about divorce and this country's super high divorce rate? I was just looking for your opinions about this.

Thank you!

Christa Jeanne said...

Jayms, THANK YOU!

Your comment made my day! One of my closest friends is gay, and I want for him every happiness in the world - that's why I've studied out this issue and why we've worked to keep this blog intelligent and thought-provoking. I love hearing different perspectives on this issue (and just about anything, really) because it helps me understand where other people are coming from, and even when I disagree, I appreciate their thoughts and passion.

So, thank you!

To address your concerns - Thanks to Assembly Bill 205, which was passed in 2003, the Family Code section 297.5 provides: "Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provision or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses."

The two possible exceptions I've heard are inheritance laws and hospitals - but if you set up a will that gives your partner inheritance rights and also legally give them the power of attorney, should anything ever happen, there's no way they would be turned away in a hospital.

I guess taxes might be a different scenario, as would be Social Security, since those are federal issues and not affected by the state Family Code - but in that case, the change needs to come at a federal level, not a state one.

It's true that hetero couples may marry but not reproduce either by choice or by the hand they're dealt biologically - but the fact is that they are wired to have children. To make people decree whether or not they intend to (or medically can) have children would be a HUGE violation of privacy, but the fact remains that it's a possibility, and so goverment fosters those relationships.

The polygamy argument comes out because if you open the definition of marriage to any consenting people in love, it really does open the floodgates. You may disagree with polygamy, but there are definitely people there who live it and love it (not saying I agree - but the fact is they're out there). If love is the only criteria, then marriage becomes all-encompassing - and when anything can be a marriage, then it loses its definition, like salt that's lost its savor from being mixed with other spices, to use a Biblical analogy.

The sin issue is a difficult one - it comes down to the nature/nurture argument. I don't view gay people as "sinners." If you define anyone who acts contrary to God's laws as laid out in the Bible, then we're all sinners - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, right? Just as some people are born with the predisposition to alcoholism, for example, I'm sure others are born with the predisposition toward homosexuality.

But where we differ is that I don't see someone's predisposition as their defining characteristic. You define it as what you ARE, not what you DO, from what I infer. From my perspective, we're all born with inclinations - but we also have the agency to act upon them, too. It's the action that is the sin - not the predisposition. It's just a matter of acting within the confines of the laws God as decreed. I understand your point about the ancient scriptures - DEFINITELY different times, huh?! - but for those of us bloggers on here who are LDS, we believe in living prophets who speak to us today, and in keeping with that flow of revelation, homosexuality is still considered a sin. But, to be clear, we may not condone the behavior, but we love the person, because he or she is a child of God. I would NEVER write someone off as a sinner, you know?

And... final point... on the divorce issue: this is close to my heart because I'm from a divorced family. Families aren't perfect, and things have to be adapted for individuals (my parents fought terribly, so I was so glad they did split and are both blissfully married now!) - but when it comes down to it, the ideal is a nuclear family with a father and mother. Men and women are so intrinsically different, and each brings something unique and wonderful to the table as they raise a child together. They complement and complete one another, and children need that. A traditional family gives them the hope of that, whereas a same-sex marriage would inherently marginalize the role of a mother or a father. That isn't to say that gay people would be bad parents - my dear gay friends would be AMAZING fathers! - but at the end of the day, from my view, their children would be missing out by not having a mother.

Wow - long answer! But I hope this helps. I really, really appreciated your considerate, thoughtful comment and felt it deserved an adequate response. :)