Tuesday, October 21, 2008

vote no on prop 8

tonight i decided to do a bit of a dive into the "yes" on proposition 8 campaign -- i'm trying to understand the fundamental arguments for this proposition. ok, some quick background. the proposition is quite clearly titled: "Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." a similar proposition was passed by voters in 2000, but struck down by the california supreme court. this proposition would embed the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman into the california constitution, and could not be struck down by the state supreme court.

now, among other things, the "yes" campaign has put a lot of focus on the effects of this proposition on schools and churches. first, on schools, the "yes" campaign has this interesting video:

i think it's worth watching, for educational purposes. these are massachusetts residents who discuss their perceived effects of the MA law. anyway, some stirring quotes. if the bill is passed, there will be "homosexuality at every level" in our schools, and in every discipline: "math, reading, social studies, spelling." indeed, spelling. can you spell "fear-mongering" and "intolerance."

i love this desire the parents express concerning their children: that their children "not have them face adult issues when they're children." one of the parents expresses their revulsion at having their children exposed to these ideas prior to "their choosing." !

now, to the effects on religious institutions. i love how the "yes" campaign is letting others say things for them, rather than actually saying what is the truth. take this line, from the "yes" site. it appears in a letter to the editor of the orange county register:

Churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages even if that is contrary to the church's position. Churches would not be able to use their doctrinal beliefs to defend their positions.

now, i don't know where this is coming from. the separation of church and state is guaranteed by the US constitution (the amendments, i think, to be exact). so the IRS, the law.. they are not going to be gunning for churches that resist marrying same-sex couples. this is A+ fear-mongering.

anyway, i can't see how if you're in a same-sex partnership, but it's not titled marriage, that somehow people are going to afford what you have the same dignity and respect as what married people have. "separate but equal" in this case seems to smack of discrimination based on sexual preference. if you feel your religion compels you to vote for this resolution, i don't expect to convince you otherwise. but i'd really like to know if there are more compelling arguments to support this resolution. 

finally, this proposition, despite amending the constitution, still needs only 50% + 1 of the vote, not a super-majority. and current polls indicate that the yes campaign is leading. so..


neha said...

hi! i think you should read the joe biden article in last week's new yorker. he talks about how he and obama both have empathy in their political interactions -- the ability to see others as humans instead of evil racists or whatever.

It seems to me like what these people in the video are concerned about is completely orthogonal to the gay marriage issue. how do you get around the fear mongering? Instead of just pointing fingers and shouting "intolerance!" how do you communicate with people about what this really means, and dispel the propaganda without alienating?

omar said...

certainly, i agree we should talk respectfully to people. i have little respect for the official "yes" campaign because some of the material they are prominently featuring contains outright lies.

now, average voter who is thinking about this issue: i'd love to talk with them and figure out why they support the proposition. if it's because they fear harm to their church, i'd tell them that's a downright falsehood -- nothing will happen to their church. if they are worried about the moral decay of society, then that'll require an explanation on their part, and on my part, concerning that topic.

besides, i don't expect to convince people who have strongly held beliefs in this regard, just as i doubt they expect to convince me. the rise in support for prop 8 has been correlated with the rise in some of the deceptive advertising promulgated by the yes campaign. and the no campaign is kind of embarrassing in itself -- a lot of their work seems to be reactionary (finger pointing), rather than addressing the key issue of equal rights (though they have that stuff too).

regarding biden, i saw this recently:

"Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Biden says if he lived in California, he would vote against a ballot measure that seeks to ban gay marriage. During an appearance Monday on the “Ellen” show, Biden called Proposition 8 “regressive” and “unfair” and added that he and running mate Barack Obama opposed a similar initiative nationally."

see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/10/20/entertainment/e174934D50.DTL&type=politics

i didn't know about this. i wish they'd come out more strongly against this issue. but of course, that might not be politically expedient.

Reamworks said...

If GAY marriage was legal, he wouldn't have married that fat woman!

Some Evangelical Clergy are urging people to vote NO on propsition. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that the NO side is gaining ground.

Also, shouldn't Christians be more concerned about the Parental Notification initiative? I think Christians have been bamboozled by out-of-state interests.

emily said...

thanks for this post.

Marriage is our culture’s ultimate expression of equality–it takes one man and one woman to create a family. Even if a marriage can’t have children or choose not to have children the definition of their relationship expresses this equality.

One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

I don't believe government should sanction the marginalization of any parent. And even though some families can't have children, or choose not to have children, you can't separate the child-issue from the marriage issue.

there is a great discussion here:


yes on prop 8!

omar said...

pip pip great to see some "yes" people contributing, thanks!


can you define what you mean by "equality" in your first sentence? do you mean that when people are married, they are defined as equals? are they somehow not equals prior to that? unfortunately, marriage isn't what makes equality in a relationship -- that comes from the fair and proper treatment of the other by each spouse, and no term, no ceremony, can magically create that environment.

i'm not sure how allowing, for instance, lesbians to marry, would marginalize me, as a man. these lesbians aren't denying me the right to marry whoever i want, and form whatever family i want.

whereas, proposition 8 is doing exactly that to gay couples.

furthermore, a same-sex couple can form a family. no problem! and i and many others can separate the child-issue from the marriage issue. and this is besides the point but why is it that the only legitimate way for a family to have children is to produce their offspring via copulation (that is what you're implying)? what about adoption? insemination?

anyway, clearly you're trying to make the point that a heterosexual coupling, which we will title "marriage," is qualitatively different than any possible homosexual coupling, and so a distinction in naming should be made, and so we shouldn't call homosexual coupling "marriage." however, i don't think you've done anything to support this distinction.