Monday, November 03, 2008

One more day

One more day left for McCain to think he's got a chance at gaining the presidency. If you're an Obama supporter who's feeling just a bit antsy and scared about the possibility of losing again to the Repubs, check out, which has the very latest polls and aggregate data, showing Obama with a 96.3% chance of winning tomorrow. Or check out this article on HuffPo, which shows all but one of the political pundits predicting an Obama win. That one dissenter is, of course, a Fox News pundit. (Big surprise.)

One more day left before the Dems rout the Repubs in Congress, too. Now, I'm not saying we're going to get the 60-seat majority in the Senate; that seems unlikely. But I think folks are pushing for a clear change this election season, and there's a lot of angry, bewildered people out there wondering why their 401Ks are essentially worthless scraps of paper now.

And one more day left, most likely, before the conservatives in California outlaw gay marriage. I'm heartbroken over this, truly. If Prop 8 passes, I cannot imagine a bigger blow to equality and basic human rights. If you haven't heard yet, Prop 8 is the gay marriage ban, and it's one of the most hotly-contested and expensive races this season, apart from the presidential race. Supporters of the bill are claiming it stands for religious freedom, the preservation of marriage (huh??), and the continued innocence of our Kindergarteners.

Now, let me just refute these points one by one.

First, religious freedom. The proponents of bill say that if gay marriage isn't outlawed, churches will be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples or risk losing their tax-exempt status. But don't churches already discriminate in who they will or will not marry? If you do not belong to their congregation, a church will often refuse to allow you to have your wedding there, or to have your wedding performed by their officiants. I don't think this argument holds much weight. In fact, I think the Mormon Church (LDS) may be in danger of losing its tax-exempt status for substantial political lobbying on this particular proposition. The IRS tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations (specifically including churches) from "[substantially] attempting to influence legislation." What legally constitutes "substantially"? I don't know, but I'm sure the LDS has their lawyers hard at work coming up with reasons why this doesn't apply to them.

Secondly, the "preservation of marriage." This is a joke, right? How does banning marriage protect it? If they really wanted to protect marriage, they'd be better off trying to outlaw divorce. What they really mean, of course, is that the bill preserves the fiction that heterosexual couples are somehow extra-special and the only ones who should be allowed to be married. Why is it wrong for two consenting adults to profess their love and commitment to each other? Why should they be satisfied with only calling their relationship a "civil union" when heterosexual couples get to be "married"? If the only difference is semantics, then why should there be any difference at all? Religion does not have a lock on the English language, and doesn't get to dictate which words can be used for legal relationships. And if the basis of your argument is a religious one (i.e., "the Bible says marriage is between one man and one woman") then your argument is irrelevant and unconstitutional, because there IS a lovely little part of our constitution that demands the separation of church and state. Marriage is both a religious AND a legal state, and therefore cannot be dictated by religion alone.

And finally, somehow, they've convinced people that passing Prop 8 is going to save our children from being taught about gay marriage in school. Look, people: if you're that worried about your kids learning something at school that you don't want them to know about, then you should really homeschool your children. Kids learn a LOT at school, and not all of it is in the classroom. What they hear from their peers is usually much more objectionable than what they hear from their teachers. And quite frankly, I don't recall my son ever learning about heterosexual marriage in school, much less homosexual marriage. The California Superintendent of Schools has definitively refuted this; children are not required to be taught about gay marriage, and whether or not Prop 8 passes will have absolutely no bearing on the fact. But honestly, people, are you really that concerned about your child learning about gay marriage? And if so, do you supervise every moment with their peers? Do you quiz their friends' parents to find out if they watch Will & Grace or Ellen before allowing your child to spend time with those friends?

Homosexuality is not hidden in the closet of our country anymore - it's out in the open, and I for one am glad. Secrets breed intolerance and bigotry. And "civil unions are legally just like marriage" is the same thing as "equal but separate" - you know, like when we had "equal but separate" schools for black kids and white kids. So please, think before you cast your ballot tomorrow - think about what's fair, and think about how you would feel if someone wanted to take away YOUR right to marry the person you love.

1 comment:

Khat said...

Hi! New reader here - and now a fan. this is a beautifully worded, clear presentation against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance. To quote Public Enemy, "Don't believe the hype!"

I'm an Arizona voter, but we have a similar proposition on our ballot, Prop 201. This is nearly the same proposition that was already put forth two years ago - possibly the same thing happened in California. Give it up, scare-mongers!