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14 October 2008 @ 12:44 am
Proposition 8  

I have decided to change this post from friends-only to public.  My beliefs are mine, and I own up to them.  Standards and morals are only worth anything if they're upheld even when it's uncomfortable.  I'm still going to spare your friends list with an LJ-Cut, though...

I’m angered by the debates over Proposition 8, and feel compelled to share my thoughts.  And for the record, these are the thoughts of a happily heterosexually married man.

I have not yet heard a single cogent, logical, valid argument for Prop 8.  I’ve come up with one argument that I think makes sense if and only if it leads to a completely different proposition than this one, but I’ll get into that later.  For the most part, the actual arguments I’ve heard in favor (as opposed to statements of blatant fearmongering like "this has been forced down our throats") have been these:

  1. “Marriage” has always been defined this way (I’ve actually seen in print the word “forever”), and we’re just fighting to maintain a pre-established word.
    1. You say that as if language is a stagnant, stable, constant thing that never evolves.  (oh wait, evolution is another argument altogether)  You say it as if this specific situation and argument have been around for millennia, and it therefore can be said that the status quo has been tried and tested and proved to be the correct way.  As opposed to language changing and shifting in order to allow communication based on new situations, incorporating things like the Merriam-Webster "word of the year" being “w00t” – and yes, I spelled that correctly, with zeros instead of o’s.  The fact is that languages that fail to evolve, much like societies and species with similar rigidity, tend to die.

  2. Without this proposition, the schools will have to teach the gay agenda, and I don't want my children exposed to ideas with which I disagree so vehemently.
    1. I’ll rephrase:  If you fail to define marriage in this way, public schools will have to give equal time to the notion that ideas I don’t believe in may be valid.  This would force me to communicate my value system to my children myself, rather than forcing the public educational system to do it for me.  After forcing the children to intone a pledge with the word God in it whether they believe in a deity or not, and not allowing them to learn about the dangers of sexual encounters without protection from disease or pregnancy, why break the pattern now?
    2. My response is basically simple:  If you don’t like how the public education is being taught, pay for a private education.  That’s why it’s there.  Meanwhile, try doing some actual parenting.  That’s why you’re there.

  3. Gay marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage as an institution.
    1. I fail to see how Britney Spears’ 12-hour marriage-turned-divorce is more sacred than George Takei’s 25-year committed-union-turned-marriage.  With arranged marriages, weddings held purly for tax purposes or to allow the participants to get off-base-housing, and over 50% of all American marriages ending in divorce, the sanctity of the institution of marriage is threatened less by homosexuals and more by modern humans.  Go oppress them for a while.

  4. We’ve fought this fight years ago, and 61% of the people in California voted in this way already.  The battle’s lost, people.  Give it up.
    1. 1:  People change.  2:  People can be wrong.  3:  People disagree, often with the opinions they themselves had years ago.  If a finite list of undisputable laws was sufficient, communism would have worked.  Instead, we live in a society in which people are supposedly allowed to question the decisions made by those in power or in the majority.  It’s kind of what made us a country in the first place.  People change, can be wrong, and disagree.  Live with it.

  5. Four people shouldn’t be allowed to overturn the will of the majority.
    1. That's one example.  Here's another:  grander scale, two consecutive presidential elections.  It happens all the time.  We live with it all the time.  Be consistent – either put up with it or don’t, but don’t make exceptions just because this was the one time that made things inconvenient for your group rather than the other guys’.  If you’re going to hold a moral high ground, do it when it’s inconvenient for you too.  Morals and standards only mean something if they’re always upheld.

  6. Without this change in the constitution of California, churches could be sued for not performing marriages that they disagreed on for religious reasons.
    1. I’m not sure how this is change with a different definition of marriage.  California is a litigious state.  People sue.  Big deal.  No judge will hold a church accountable for discrimination simply because they held to their religious beliefs --- it’s what defines the first amendment of the country’s constitution. 

That does bring us to the actual heart of the argument, though.  The problem is that “Marriage” is an inherently religious word.  The real problem is that by allowing homosexuals to use the word for their unions, the state is imposing their definition (and therefore their will) on religious organizations.  You can’t separate the word “marriage” in the context of the state from the word “marriage” in the context of the church – it’s the same word for a reason.

At the same time, this is the exact argument FOR using the word that way.  Say, for example, that you were to put in the US constitution an amendment that defines the word “man” as “any individual whose DNA gender markers includes ONLY a single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome.”  What implications would that mean on the rest of the document?  Where would we be with women’s rights?  How about instead, defining African Americans as being having 2/3 of a vote?  Yes, I understand that this bill does none of that, and that homosexual unions have the same rights as heterosexual marriages no matter how this vote goes.  But the real problem is that the proposition brings us back to a “separate but equal” mentality – and look how well that turned out for everyone involved.  Four legs good, two legs bad.  You can ride on the same bus, but only in the back.  You can be joined legally, but you’re not allowed to use our word.  We held a revolutionary war to fight this kind of mentality, saying “you do what you want to do in England, but in America, we fight for the minority and against oppressors of any kind, and you can’t force us to do otherwise.”

So here’s my proposal.  Forget 8 – it should never have existed, it’s a relic of the pre-enlightened-1960’s.  Instead, proposition Anti-M, as an amendment for the United States constitution: “The word marriage is an inherently religious word, and we live in a society that has deemed necessary a separation of Church and State.  Therefore, the word 'marriage' shall not be used with any legal standing in any context, for any couple or group of any gender combination.  All legal rights previously endowed upon couples with the title of Married shall now be given to couples with the title of Legally United.  A Legal Union shall be granted to any two individuals, regardless of gender, with the same requirements and processes previously required of Marriages by the state.  Marriages may still be performed under the guidelines of one’s church, temple, clan, coven, etc, but the title of ‘Married’ shall no longer carry any legal rights or privileges.”

The problem is a combination of segregation and religion.  People shouldn’t be singled out because they’re different, but you can’t force any religion to accept beliefs they don’t want to.  So do what should have been done in the first place:  separate the Church from the State, and give anyone who applies for it the same rights, the same privileges, and the same title.

lindasings on October 15th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Well said! I agree with all your conclusions except #6. There have been some truly unfair judgments against people who are trying to follow their religious beliefs. Catholic doctors are forced to prescribe birth control pills, for example.

As for Arguments #4 and 5... this represents a deep misunderstanding of our form of government. It is NOT and has never been "Majority Rules." Were "majority rules" the source of our laws, then lynch mobs would be legal. The whole basis of our democracy is that government will protect the rights of the minority.
Idtechnomonkey on October 16th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
Argument # 7
Jen and I were talking tonight, and we came up with argument # 7, and the response.

7. Homosexual unions still have the same rights as heterosexual married couples whether you change the word on them or not.

a: No, they don't. They may have rights to visit in a hospital and access to each others' 401k, but that's not all marriage means from a legal standpoint. The primary differences that come to our minds are insurance (married couples fall under "family" rates, and therefore don't require separate - read: considerably more expensive - insurance policies) and taxes (different tax bracket, different estate tax applications, etc). That's just two examples, but I'd say they're significant.