What: A perfectly timed blogging activism event in support of gay marriage. I say perfectly timed because I realize that my creative juices have not been sleeping as I posted a few days ago with a picture of my purr-fectly adorable cat. No, they have actually been laser focused on one issue which I was hesitating to write about which just served to block everything else out until I *could* release these thoughts. So I would like to send a huge Thank You out to Dana from Mombian for posting about this on Mother Talkers which is where I found it!
Why I am participating: Well, obviously I fall into the support for gay marriage side :-) But the issue has been in the front of my mind because I live in California where we have a huge battle going on with Prop 8 which would amend the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Given that this is on the ballot *after* the state supreme court granted the right of gays to marry a few months ago, this means this ballot initiative would take away a right currently, though only recently granted. Early on, the No votes were polling rather strongly ahead and then every major newspaper in the state, including the local one which is so traditionally conservative, came out in opposition to Prop 8 and I thought it would go down easily. Then the Mormons and Knights of Columbus stepped in and stepped up their fund raising efforts in their churches and communities. The Yes on 8 campaign was fueled and has taken hold and the race is up in the air. Sometimes the polling shows the Yes group ahead, then it swings back to the Nos but always with a very slim margin. Every yes on 8 sign or ad has made my blood boil and ignited all sorts of questions in my head. So in honor of Write to Marry, I thought I would share this internal conversation I keep having with myself :-) It’s a little bit debate, a little bit an attempt to understand the other side, and really just an admission that, in this rare case, I simply *can’t* grasp the concept.
Before I launch into it though, please be aware that I am not an attorney and I don’t play one on tv, or on a blog :-) So please do not hold me to those standards. While I hope to make you think, I don’t pretend that the logic will be perfect. My arguments will be flawed, but also, very heartfelt.
The debate in my head goes like this – how can they justify this? It’s discrimination! Why do they think it is OK to marginalize people like this? So I actually asked that question outside my head on my Facebook page and got an answer relating to the morality of it. The gist was that it is not discrimination to legally prevent adults from marrying minors, or preventing family members from marrying so this is simply an extension of that. That a moral line needs to be drawn. OK. But in one of those classic equations, does the statement that heterosexual marriage is the only moral definition, mean that you are saying that homosexual marriage is immoral? By labeling gay marriage immoral, aren’t you then labeling gays as immoral? And I know that is exactly what is behind that particular argument. It is a religious belief that gays are immoral. As evidenced by the post I commented on a few weeks ago. There are many for whom this is a religious issue really. Which then makes me say “Don’t use the legal system to force your religious beliefs on everyone!” Which should be enough to stop the discussion because the separation of church and state is supposed to of utmost important to any American citizen , but I know it isn’t anymore. Of course I could challenge them by saying if you want to ensure that marriage stays true to the biblical definition then, hey, minor girls COULD marry adult men and oh, by the way, women/girls would also be the man’s *property*. There wouldn’t even be domestic violence laws because men were allowed to punish their wives physically for perceived transgressions in biblical times. It seems we’ve re-interpreted marriage and many other laws over the years already, right? Why is it such a moral/religious travesty *this* time?
I know that at the core of many people’s lack of support is something even more than a religious belief. There is the belief being gay is a *choice*. A fear that by allowing society to fully accept the gay lifestyle, then it will spread to people who would otherwise not have been gay. A fear that their children will learn it is OK to be gay and *choose* that life. Well, not being a genetic scientist, I cannot at this moment cite reports or research that have pointed to homosexualtiy as an innate genetic trait. So here is my non-scientific explanation for why I believe people really are born that way: why would you *choose* to be gay? Really! Think about it! Do you think people want to be bullied in school? Want to live in turmoil? Want to be marginalized and discriminated against? A dear friend of mine has said to me that he often wishes he was not gay for those very reasons. His life is hard. Family turn their backs. Society turns its back and tries to pass laws like this. Depending on the place and time when they come out, they could truly be in fear of their lives. Why, if there was not some deep, genetic reason that they love their own gender, would they choose to be put through that turmoil and pain? Well, I don’t think it makes sense. And, in my mind at least, if you believe that being gay is genetic, then to hold them to a different standard (not allowing them to marry) is to discriminate against them for something they cannot change. Which is the same as when blacks were not allowed to marry whites, or not allowed to vote. Or when women were not allowed to vote. Discrimination. Nothing more or less. And because I believe it is something innate, I certainly do not fear exposure to gays either for me or my children. Because I already am who am I am, and so are my sons. Seeing gay couples as 100% accepted members of society will not impact them in any way other than to grow up knowing it and not fearing it. Gay marriage will not hurt my straight life. Or, as my same dear friend says “My gay marriage will not hurt your straight divorce.” Touche my friend says the two time divorcee. Touche.
Perhaps you don’t know and love anyone who is gay. So perhaps you have never witnessed the pain they feel when they are harassed or made to feel ‘less than’ straight people. Perhaps then it is easier not to care. But here is a plea from someone who does know and love gay people. Who knows how they feel and how much being treated equally means to them. Please remember these are fellow human beings. Who cannot change who they are. Who should be accepted completely for who they are. If you are in CA, please vote NO on 8, in AZ vote NO on prop 102, and in FL please vote NO on 2.