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03 November 2008 @ 03:08 pm
The Proposition 8 Rant...  
Election Day is tomorrow, and this issue worries me almost as much as who our next president will be. Both are close races, and while I think (hope) Obama is likely to come out on top, I fear that Prop 8 is going to pass instead of fail.

Proposition 8 is a California initiative seeking to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman. We had a similar initiative, Prop 22, which passed years ago, but the California Supreme Court narrowly overturned it on the basis of discrimination. Opponents immediately sought a ballot measure to reverse the decision.

You all know I'm in favor of gay rights-- that's no surprise. But even if you oppose homosexuality, this is why you should vote against this proposition (or its equivalent in your local state).

* Civil rights should not be subject to popular vote. Our country was founded on equality for all, and also with the idea of rejecting the "tyranny of the majority." Had the Civil Rights Act of 1964 been subject to popular vote, we would likely still have segregation and Jim Crow laws in effect in parts of this country today.

* The right to marry is a civil contract pertaining to civil laws. If your church opposes the right of gays to marry, then your church will never be forced to offer church weddings to gay people. However, YOUR religion should not govern the rights of other people who do not hold your beliefs. That's what separation of church and state is all about. It is designed to prevent religion from unduly influencing the state (particular a handful of religions), and the state from unduly influencing religion. Separation of church and state is one of the most powerful and important parts of our country; it is the thing that is missing in places like Ireland and Iraq and Pakistan that allow opposing factions to wage continual war over what the country's official religion "should" be.

* The legal rights of domestic partnerships are NOT equivalent to those of married people. Rights of child custody, inheritance, power-of-attorney, and spousal benefits are NOT guaranteed to domestic partners. So many voters who think "separate but equal" is a reasonable position are forgetting once again that separate is NOT equal. Gay couples SHOULD NOT have to hire attorneys in the hopes of ensuring rights and privileges that straight people can acquire simply by getting married. Moreover, there is no guarantee that even with an attorney and the appropriate documents that those rights will not be overturned if challenged:
- A parent who has raised a child since birth should not have to adopt that child simply because they are not the biological parent. Biology makes NO difference to parent or child.

- When a gay partner dies, the surviving partner should be eligible for Social Security and death benefits.

- By the same token, any children (even if biologically related to the other parent) should also be eligible for Social Security and death benefits.

- If the biological parent in a gay union dies, the children should not be vulnerable to seizure by that partner's parents/siblings rather than remaining with the surviving partner.


* Gay marriage protects the rights of the children of gay couples. It provides them with the rights afforded to any other children of married parents.

My neighborhood has a proliferation of "Yes On 8" signs and only a handful of "No On 8" signs. One family has their "Yes On 8" sign facing the house of a lesbian family with children. It infuriates me every time I see it-- I don't know whether the one family is being deliberately hateful or if they're clueless, but the thing is, you don't know whom you're offending when you promote your hatred of gay people. It's not something people wear like skin color or religious symbols or clothing.

The Mormon Church has asked its members to do all that they can to help Prop 8 pass, which means that we've had lots of money streaming in from out-of-state to promote the agenda of a specific church against the rights of individuals who actually live in our state. The quantity of Mormon funding into Prop 8 is hugely out of proportion to the Mormon population of this state. That makes me angry as well. This is a church whose idea of "traditional marriage" was one man and multiple women, until that was discarded in exchange for granting statehood to Utah. Black people were barred from the Temple, because their skin color was considered to be the mark of Cain. Black men were denied the church priesthood until 1978, and women attain the priesthood only through their fathers or husbands.

By contrast, I found an amazing website a few days ago, LDS For Gay Marriage. This site features well-reasoned essays on why the church should not interfere in the civil rights of gay people, and details the harm to gay people and their children that comes from opposing gay marriage. It is written by people who are not themselves homosexual and do not support homosexuality, but who make a distinction between their personal beliefs and the rights of others, as well as why gay marriage is important for gay people and their children.

Opposing gay marriage will not eliminate homosexuality. It has always been with us and always will - even in the animal kingdom. It's a naturally-occuring variation, much like handedness. The argument that gay marriage threatens straight marriage is unfounded. The biggest threats to marriage of any kind are incompatibility and immaturity, which come from within ourselves.

I spoke to the receptionist at my dentist's office last week, who said that as a Christian she "loves gay people but opposes gay marriage." She'd already voted for Prop 8 absentee, but she was NOT aware that domestic partnerships do not come with the same rights as marriage.

This post is for anyone who opposes the right of gay people to marry. Please take a moment to understand that you are denying rights to people AND their children which you take for granted, and to consider what your life would be like if the rights of YOUR race or gender or religion could be eliminated by popular vote.

 
 
 
Princess Robot Bubblegum!astrothsknot on November 3rd, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Is domestic partnership common law or legal like marriage?

Here we have civil partnership, which gives gays the same rights as married straight folk - it is marriage by any other name.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Is domestic partnership common law or legal like marriage?
It is a legal standing within a state, where permitted. It does not have federal legal standing, and it is not equivalent to marriage. The fact that the rights and privileges vary from state-to-state and are not recognized by the federal goverment says as much. Moreover, other states can choose not to recognize the civil unions/partnerships/domestic partnerships of other states.
miss_mandy on November 3rd, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this, it was very well said.

I honestly can't believe how many people support a religion that is all about love and then preach such hatred towards others.

And before anyone starts wank, I'm a Christian for the record, so I heart Jesus as well as gay men and women. Yay for acceptance!

This is why everyone needs to be a Democratican like me. Best of both sides with none of the suck.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
I honestly can't believe how many people support a religion that is all about love and then preach such hatred towards others.
This is true of many religions, at least as practiced by their members. Look at the wars between different flavors of Islam, or the Catholics vs. Protestants in Ireland.

That's why the "LDS For Gay Marriage" site was so interesting to me. It is run by people who, having even looked at their own church doctrine and at the tenets of Christianity, have drawn exactly the opposite conclusion from the larger direction of their church.

This is why everyone needs to be a Democratican like me.
You'll probably have to provide a definition of your term before you get any new members. ;)
miss_mandy on November 4th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
A Democratican is a Democrat and a Republican mixed together. You take the good from both sides and leave the bad.

I made up that term for myself because I love the sort of romanticized version of the conservative south (polite men who hold open doors and families that go to church together etc.) but I still hold my northern liberal ideals when it comes to social issues.

I also hate extremists from both sides. Crazy bible-thumpers are just as bad as condescending hippies in my opinion.

I like just hanging out in the middle. You know in my big ass pickup truck with the rainbow bumper sticker, eatin' chicken wings and then recylcing the package later while supporting the troops, but not the war. Then I go to church and praise Jesus, then come home and laugh at the religious jokes on Family Guy.
realpestilencerealpestilence on November 3rd, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Once religion comes into the mix, rational thought goes out the window. My office is full of religious people (and most of them very nice and decent types), all of whom openly say they're going to vote yes...and I wonder what our resident lesbian, partnered for many years, thinks of the matter. Or what our bisexual thinks of it, and what our gay former employee, also happily in a long-term relationship, would have thought about it. To have people look you in the eye and deny your rights, to basically deny your humanity...and feel *good* about it?

Too many Americans parrot the traditional lines about life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and equality for all, etc, but don't *apply* them. I've gotten into many an arguement about how they don't have to *like* something to live and let live-it's not like THEY are being *required* to marry a same sex spouse, or to *lose* privileges that marriage brings, so why the hell do they want to deny it to others? It makes no logical sense...hence, bigotry. :(
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
To have people look you in the eye and deny your rights, to basically deny your humanity...and feel *good* about it?
That's part of what's so infuriating about it-- the smugness over being able to vote whether to allow or deny the rights of other people, particulary when they don't actually affect you. Our country was structured in part (as a republic, not as a democracy) to prevent the "tyranny of the majority," which is exactly what this is.

I think that a lot of voters, in general, don't understand that voting is about doing the right thing for the larger society. If I voted my economic position, I'd be following the Republic ticket because that party benefits my economic bracket more. But that is NOT the right thing for society as a whole.

It's one of the best things my father ever explained to me when I was little: he'd vote to tax himself more if it was the right thing to do for the country as a whole. THAT's how you're supposed to vote. It isn't always about you.
Vee017: darthyaislinn_tredor on November 3rd, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
It's discrimmination and a violation of human rights.

It used to be illegal for couples of mixed race to marry too.

If Ben and James want to get married, it's not going to affect Tina and Joe 100 miles away >.<

I supremely APPLAUD you for this post \o/ You are a billionty percent right.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
It used to be illegal for couples of mixed race to marry too.
Exactly. One of the things that frustrates me so much is how many black churches are lining up behind Prop 8. Of all the people who should know better, after the injustices in their past, you'd think it would be that demographic.

We even had people noting in Sunday's paper that the larger turnout of black voters for Obama might in fact help to defeat Prop 8. It's very disturbing.
cindy: the dean show - son of a...!tsuki_no_bara on November 4th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
if god forbid prop 8 passes, is there any mechanism by which it can be later overturned? i'm all freaked out it's going to pass, and it's not even my state. what do you tell all those gay couples who've gotten married - oh, sorry, your union doesn't count any more, the voters of california don't think you deserve the same rights and protections they do?

in massachusetts, the state house settled this. twice. with a mormon governor. :D they didn't put it to a popular vote. what's the reasoning in cali for doing it that way?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
if god forbid prop 8 passes, is there any mechanism by which it can be later overturned?
The same referendum process by which it became a proposition could also overturn it-- and you can be sure that'll come up again and again until people grow out of their homophobia and it finally passes.

what do you tell all those gay couples who've gotten married - oh, sorry, your union doesn't count any more, the voters of california don't think you deserve the same rights and protections they do?
There is some thought that they can't be invalidated after the fact, which would be where future lawsuits come in-- a special class of gay people with rights that other gay people don't have.

n massachusetts, the state house settled this. twice. with a mormon governor. :D they didn't put it to a popular vote. what's the reasoning in cali for doing it that way?
Our legislature chickened out on the issue altogether, years ago. The governor left the issue up to the State Supreme Court (i.e., he didn't want to get between the voters and their majority opinion, but I suspect he knew the State Supreme Court would overturn it).

So the reason it's come BACK, to be overturned again by making a constitutional amendment (which the State Supreme Court theoretically canNOT undo) is because California has a referendum process where pretty much anything that gathers enough valid petition signatures can be put on the ballot. This election, we've got 12 initiatives, half of which are being sponsored by special interests (sometimes from out-of-state). It's very frustrating as a voter.

So because we have the referendum process, voters are being allowed to vote on something that frankly should not be within the domain of popular vote. :(
Fate3: sadfates3 on November 4th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Aw man, I hear you! I live in CA and this one is driving me batshit crazy!!! I'm so worried about this one passing, and the commercials for it make me sick with fury and disgust over the lies and the propaganda being used to scare narrow minded people into voting against equal rights for people. it freaking scares me, it really does. between this prop and the presidency, I will be really glad when election day is over, cause they are both stressing me out :-/

Please let Prop 8 FAIL and please let Obama WIN!!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
and the commercials for it make me sick with fury and disgust over the lies and the propaganda being used to scare narrow minded people into voting against equal rights for people.

The lies about "indoctrinating your children" have gotten the biggest traction of anything, and that really makes me angry. Parents have explicit options in this state to opt out of pretty much anything, so that argument isn't even true. And frankly, schools are too busy teaching to standardized tests and teaching all subject matter a year early to get into that territory at all.

*is also stressed*
brigid_tanner: John & weeDean-father's lovebrigid_tanner on November 4th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Well said! Wish I could vote against it, but I'm not in California. I fear that if ya'll pass it, other states will be lining up to do something similar.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
I hope most states don't have the kind of situation California does, where anything and everything can be put to popular vote. This is exactly the kind of issue that the majority rule should not decide. :(
Harley: J2: Epic love storycrimsonkitty88 on November 4th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
amen sistah. I'm in Cali (in San Francisco no less!) and I'm nervous as all hell that this one is going to pass. *biting fingernails*

Edited at 2008-11-04 01:51 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
*joins you in nervousness* *spleen still aches from Pro-8 propaganda lies*
she said mysteriously: stickfigure!Sam&Deanresounding_echo on November 4th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
YES. Beautifully stated; I need add nothing more.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
If only you were registered to vote here...
she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on November 4th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
I've a similar one to vote against here in Arizona. Sadly, I'm nearly certain it will pass...
j: boysexthelalaprincess on November 4th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
Great post. I think you said it all perfectly.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
I kept going back and forth on whether to even address it, but it finally got the better of me. It's SO frustrating, watching other people prepare to merrily remove the rights of others-- and often, they don't even realize that they truly ARE removing rights that can't be obtained otherwise. :(
Azziria: englandazziria on November 4th, 2008 09:34 am (UTC)
As someone watching from across the Atlantic, Prop. 8 horrifies me, for all the reasons you have laid out so clearly.

We've had civil partnerships, which give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples, since 2005 over here. As a married woman with two children I'm pleased to report that the presence of (effectively) married gay couples doesn't seem to have threatened my married state in any way! (Actually, as an atheist who married in a non-religious registry office ceremony I consider my marriage in the same light as a civil partnership, in truth. Which in no way makes myself and my DH any less committed to what we're doing here.)

I struggle to see how anything that encourages committment and responsibility can be a bad thing. But then, as an atheist I have to admit to having only an outsider's view of how religious belief can be used to justify telling other people what they can or can't do.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 4th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
We've had civil partnerships, which give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples, since 2005 over here.
I've heard this from several European countries, which is such wonderful progress. The U.S. has SO many laws governing property and inheritance and child-custody that gay people really need the exact equivalent of marriage, which currently they don't have.

I'd be happy to call it "civil unions," since people are so hung up on the term "marriage." Though getting married by the state as opposed to within a church IS a civil union already.

I struggle to see how anything that encourages committment and responsibility can be a bad thing.
It's mainly homophobia that's behind this, and the notion that you can stop homosexuals by disdaining their behavior. True commitment- by anyone- is always a good thing in my book. Perhaps it's selfish, but I believe it strengthens society as well as the bonds between individuals, and that is all to the good.

But then, as an atheist I have to admit to having only an outsider's view of how religious belief can be used to justify telling other people what they can or can't do.
Well, that's the thing. Our separation of church and state is supposed to prevent this exact thing. The idea is that the state will neither advocate for or against a particular religion, so long as it isn't harming others (marrying off children, human sacrifices, etc.).

One of the frustrating things in my city is how many of our Ukrainian immigrants are so vocally FOR this proposition. Now that they've escaped a country where the state prevented them from worshipping as they wanted to, they want to use the state to impose their beliefs on others. They don't understand that the sword cuts both ways, and that this is exactly what they left their original country for.

Thanks for chiming in on the discussion!
mercurybard on November 5th, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
I meant to tell you this the other night, but I got sidetracked.

But, well said, lady. Very well said.

(As someone who was in a marriage not acknowledged for several months by the federal government, I've had a taste of what these couples have to deal with THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. And, frankly, it sucks.)

Edited at 2008-11-05 06:13 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 5th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
As someone who was in a marriage not acknowledged for several months by the federal government, I've had a taste of what these couples have to deal with THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. And, frankly, it sucks.

!! I can only imagine-- "No, we can't tell you where he's stationed. That information is for family members only." and "You are not authorized to make those decisions."

Did everything finally get straightened out? I realize you're not still married, but prior to the divorce?

One of the most frustrating things about sitting through this battle (which got uglier and uglier as Election Day approached) was the number of people who truly didn't understand that "almost all the same rights as straight people" is very different from "all of the SAME rights as straight people"-- especially depending upon which rights were actually carried over!
mercurybard on November 6th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
It was more "no, you can't get benefits", which meant "no, you can't go to the doctor even though you were diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder the day before and an idiot quack took you off anti-depressants 3 weeks prior to your wedding".

It took about three months to get straightened out. Once we finally convinced the Army they had to take a marriage license from Harris County as legal, we then had to get a certified copy of the license...which, it turned out, wasn't even on file because a clerk had spilled white-out all over it and couldn't make out the names. It was a bad situation all the way around.

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people are. And so much of it is willful ignorance too.