November 03, 2008

Head in my hands, Heart on my Sleeve

I've been thinking a lot about Prop 8.  It's the only ballot measure I haven't yet decided on.

My head tells me to vote yes and tell activist liberal judges to get a fucking clue.  That CA's registered Domestic Partnership law provides the same rights to gay couples who register as marriage does to straight couples.  That marriage is a construct not of the state, but of the church, and really the RDP law should apply to gays and straights both as a "civil union," a mere contract.  That "marriage" is solemnized and consecrated by your belief system, whatever that is, and abides by those rules.  God's rules.  Or gods' rules.  Whatever you believe.  Not the state's rules. 

I worry about the consequences for churches and ministers who are against marrying gay couples, for whatever reason.  Will they be breaking the law if they refuse?  Will they lose their 501 status? Will anyone be allowed to believe that homosexuality is wrong or state that belief?  It may be bigoted, but in this country, people have a right to believe as they choose.  We call it Freedom of Religion.

And you know, I just am so tired of all the in-your-faceness of the Prop 8 fight.  I just want to vote no to say HA!  Keep your "whether you like it or not" and all your Gay PDA on TV (for the record, all PDA on TV makes me sick, we've just seen a lot of it with this Prop 8 thing).  It makes me want to be perverse and give all the Prop 8 opponents the finger.

But my heart tells me differently.

As I've mentioned many times on this blog, one of my dearest friends is gay, and he married his partner about 5 years ago in one of the most beautiful, heartfelt weddings I have ever seen.  I was proud to be a "bridesmaid" and stand up for them, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I remember feeling so clearly the love between them, and seeing how precious they were to each other.  I could never take away from them the things that DH and I have, the comfort of knowing we are each other's first and last resort, that we make each other's life and death decisions, that we share the rights and responsibilities of our life together for better and for worse.

I received this today, via email.  I hope my friend won't mind me sharing it with you in part, and with the names redacted, of course.

Hi Everyone,

As you know, we're barely a day away from the most historic election of our time. But as you are also probably well aware, there's a lot more at stake than the Presidency.

Here in California, one of the most important -- and one of the closest -- issues you can vote on is Prop 8.

Prop 8 seeks to eliminate fundamental rights for one group of people. If passed, Prop 8 would take away something very close to Nick and me: our marriage. I trust you agree that eliminating fundamental rights -- from anyone -- is unfair and wrong.


If you want to help but don't have much time, here's something simple you can do:

The simplest thing you can do is to call everyone you know when you have a few free minutes on Tuesday and bug them to go vote if they haven't. Even if they say in advance that they'll vote, call them on Election Day to make sure they've voted. Even if it looks like the Presidential contest is over nationally by 5 or 6 pm our time, it's still critical that everyone goes to the polls to vote NO on 8. And even if it's raining, and even if the lines are long ... that shouldn't matter.

Finally, please modify and pass along this e-mail to everyone you know in California.

(And, no, you don't need to call N or me on Election Day -- we have both already voted by absentee ballot.)

Thanks so much for all your support!

A (& N)
I just can't tell them no. As much as I think this whole issue is screwed up and proceeding ass-backwards and I want to vote yes to make a political point, I don't think I can look my friend in the eye and tell him I voted to take away the marriage that means so much to him in favor of a lousy, meaningless contract. Unless you give me one of those lousy, meaningless contracts, too.

So this girl's in an unfamiliar quandry: head or heart?  I can't tell which makes more sense.

Posted by caltechgirl at November 3, 2008 02:23 PM | TrackBack

I think it comes down to this: if you believe that your gay friend's marriage should be treated the same as your own (and marriage, not some partnership that is treated as something that has rights but still not a marriage), then you should vote no. I really feel, and these are my opinions, that a vote yes is equivalent to someone coming to my wedding but doing something to make my interracial marriage invalid.

There was a point in California law where interracial marriages were actually illegal -- Armenians couldn't even buy homes in some places. I know you don't like judicial activism, but some activism is necessary to help society progress. Without it we wouldn't have had the civil rights movement for sure. I think this is actually the right way to go about bringing gay rights on a national level. I don't think its right to do something on a national level until at least a quarter of the states have really taken a good hard look at the issue. California should be at the forefront of this because of our unique diverse population.

You express annoyance for the No on Prop 8 people but aren't you just annoyed with the Yes on Prop 8 people? The blatant exploitation of children is just damned noxious to me.

To quote my boss -- "it is what it is." It's the "elimination of rights for same sex couples." It's not about telling churches what to do - Catholic churches can refuse to marry some people if they are not really practicing Catholics...same with Jewish temples. It's a scare tactic used by people who only want traditional marriage. There are going to be some idiots who may try sh*t but then it'll go to the courts and we'll take care of that as it comes.

I hope you vote No and I hope I helped a little.

Posted by: SBC at November 3, 2008 03:16 PM

It's tough - more than tough. It feels unfair. And frankly - we believe in fairness whether it be in the retrospect of skin color, sexual persuasion, socio economic class, or whatever...

Laws should be "fair". But I *do* have issues with the the word "marriage" within a social or church philosophy being dictated by law.

I DON'T believe that I am any less married in God's eyes because I was married by a judge in a chapel and NOT in the Catholic Church (or any other).

I do believe that people in a committed relationship should be recognized (if they so choose) - the same as me - as "married". With all of the benefits and detriments (hello - painful, complicated dissolution of said relationship) and legal ramifications (as in decisions concerning medical care or disbursement of estates) as *I* am.

I have trouble with labeling the whole deal "marriage" - because that indicates a relationship recognized by the church and GOD.

"Civil Union" works for me - Meaning equal rights under the law for committed couples regardless of hetero sexual palimony or same sex union - and a few of the gay people who are in my life (see Wald Law Blog) - they are trying to find a balance too.

It's tough.

Something will make it right - I am just not yet sure that a definition of "marraige" is it... WE shall see...

Posted by: Richmonds at November 3, 2008 06:22 PM

Don't go to the dark side! This is not about what feels good, it's about what is best for the future of our nation. Vote Yes on 8!

Posted by: Pasadena Closet Conservative at November 3, 2008 10:11 PM

Vote no! Vote no!

Parenthetically, you should see the emails that flew back and forth on this between my dad and my sister...

Posted by: ZTZCheese at November 3, 2008 10:15 PM

CTG, you know the right thing to do.

If the proposition were about activist judges defining marriage, it would be the "Judges Don't Define Marriage" Proposition.

But that's not what it's about. It's about defining marriage. Restricting it, by law. Is this the right way of doing it?

A vote against 8 doesn't mean you favor activist judiciary, or even marriage for LGBT -- it can also mean you simply feel that the proposition as written is too flawed to vote for. It hurts too many people. I myself voted against a proposition in the previous election that ostensibly stood for things I believed in, but it would not have accomplished those things, not in the right way.

You know what's right. Good luck tomorrow.

Posted by: Joe at November 3, 2008 10:25 PM

Definitely a rock and a hard place. I too have a dear friend who is a lesbian. And was there when she stepped out of that closet. We had a dear friend commit suicide because we *believe* he was hiding his homosexuality. These are people we love, and would never choose to hamper or harm them. It is a struggle on so many levels.

Posted by: Stacy at November 4, 2008 12:15 PM

I weighed it out between my flesh and my spirit. I chose to vote by my spirit because in the end, it is what matters most to me.

As long as YOU can live with your choice, that is all that matters.

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Posted by: createmo at November 5, 2008 03:33 AM