Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts after seeing signs shredded in my neighborhood this weekend

I’m tired. I’m tired of people on both sides of Prop. 8 participating in uncivilized behavior, such as shredding signs or yelling names. In the same vein, I don’t appreciate people thinking that I’m homophobic, or some kind of right wing religious fanatic that wants to shoot animals with Sara Palin (I’m not even a Republican) because I’m voting Yes on Prop. 8. I’m not trying to attack anyone’s lifestyle, and I don’t believe that hate speech is ever ok. Turning this into a battle of who is right, not over rights, is something that has been deeply troubling to me.

I do believe that people have a right to live in a way that’s pleasing to them: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but having rights doesn’t mean stepping on someone else’s right in the process. Maybe I’m selfish, but I also want to be free to live my life in a way that’s pleasing to me. I’m not asking people to believe what I believe, I’m just asking that we respect a diversity of opinion. For me, Yes on 8 means being able to practice my religion in a way that is pleasing to me. If a church as part of it’s religious doctrine decides that marriage means one man and one woman, that is a set of beliefs that you can disagree with, and since churches are voluntary organizations, you can go to another church, or no church at all. That’s your right. However, for the government of California (and when this becomes a national issue, the federal government) to change the definition of marriage moves this beyond a mere set of beliefs. Governments are not a voluntary institution, and thereby as citizens under their jurisdiction must face the consequences if we propose not to abide by the laws of the state, which is a precursor to legal action. I support the separation of church and state, which is why I don’t think that redefining marriage is ok, because this does force many churches to go against their religious beliefs. I don’t want government telling me what can be taught at my church anymore than religious Jews want the government defining their Sabbath day practices, or telling Hindus that it’s wrong to be a vegetarian.

I say redefining marriage because that is the issue. The argument of “when people love each other they should be able to get married” does not stand up to rigorous scrutiny. Marriage is more than about being in love, otherwise we have a slippery slope of what constitutes “love.” When marriage is open to everything, then it is nothing at all. This is not about discrimination, this is about having limits. Governments have to make decisions about limits, even if they don’t treat everyone exactly the same: as a woman I’m not required to register for the draft, but am still free to join the military; not being born in the U.S. my grandmother is not allowed to run for the office of President, but can become a Senator. This being said, I want to make it clear that I believe in treating all human beings with dignity, and I don’t want anyone to be fired, harassed at school, or denied the ability to visit their partner in the hospital because they are gay. I do believe in equal rights, but I don’t think that redefining marriage is one of them.

I don’t think No on 8 is the way to give gay couples rights and still protect religious free exercise.


Hizzeather said...

Welcome Kimball, and GREAT POST! Thanks!

Christa Jeanne said...

And that is why you're one of my favorite people on the planet, m'dear. Well said!

A. said...

The idea that our public school administrators are unbiased observers in this election or in our children’s moral education is a farce.

TODAY in our town, a prop 8 sign that was too close to school property was destroyed by two Conejo Valley Unified administrators. It was caught on camera.

There’s no way they can say that they are unbiased in this debate. The ferocity and cruelty shows through. This is who runs our schools. This is the face of tolerance. As much as I would like to believe that this is a rarity, 200,000 stolen, defaced, destroyed and vandalized signs proves otherwise.