8 Against Prop 8

Writer and Political Commentator

In March 2000, Californians overwhelmingly voted in favor of
Proposition 22—the California Defense of Marriage Act—which in its
simplest terms, defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a
woman.

In May of this year, the California Supreme Court, by a 4-3
vote, overturned the initiative, ruling that same-sex marriage was
guaranteed by the state Constitution as a “fundamental right.” Chief
Justice Ronald George wrote in his majority opinion, “Our state now
recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and
long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly
care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s
sexual orientation.”

The predictable reaction to the ruling is the most controversial
initiative on November’s ballot: Proposition 8. The initiative would
amend the state Constitution and overturn the California Supreme
Court decision. The entire text of Proposition 8 is short, simple
and to the point: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid
and recognized in California.”

Here are eight reasons why we should defeat Proposition 8 this November.

1. Proponents of Prop 8 argue that it reflects the “people’s will,”
as evidenced by Prop 22. As public opinion polls show that support
to allow same-sex marriages is growing rapidly, will those who are
crying “majority rules” quietly step aside if Prop 8 fails?

2. Until 1967, it was also the “people’s will” that interracial
marriages be illegal and the institution of marriage seems to have
withstood this “assault” on its foundation, as it has withstood
divorce, adultery and in my case, a Catholic marrying a Jew.

3. The Supreme Court’s decision is being attacked as bench
legislation by a liberal activist court. It is important to note (in
light of California’s well-deserved reputation for being extremely
liberal) that the Supreme Court is considered moderate, with
Republican governors appointing six of its seven members.

4. Civil unions are a legal issue, which is where the state’s
involvement should begin and end. Marriages should be performed and
recognized by churches, synagogues, and mosques. If a religious
institution does not want to acknowledge a relationship, then that is
a private matter between that institution, the individuals and their
God. However, when a state refuses to acknowledge a relationship, it
is a public matter – and is indefensible.

5. I believe that a gay man can be just as good of a father as a
straight man, but that he can’t be as good of a mother as a woman,
which is why a man and a woman is the ideal partnership for raising
children. However, the reality is that millions of children in this
state are being raised in situations that are nowhere near ideal and
suffer as a result. If two committed, loving adults want to commit
their lives to raising a child, God – and the State of California –
bless them.

6. I have yet to be shown how allowing same-sex marriage in any way
diminishes my marriage, my family or my role as a father.

7. It is easy to say that I would have supported interracial marriage
if I were old enough to have lived through the then-controversy. In
years to come when the same-sex issue has faded to all but historical
irrelevance, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I was
there, publicly supporting those who needed the support. It will be
the best way to know that if I had been in Birmingham in the ‘60s, I
would have stood on the right side of the hoses.

8. If one of my children were gay, in love and wanted to get married,
it would be impossible for me to look him or her in the eye and say I
could not support the desire to be married. How can I possibly
support a Constitutional amendment that would legally demand that I –
or any parent – do that to their children?

Same-sex marriage is a difficult issue and when it is positioned as
an attack on traditional marriage, religion, God and families, it is
easy to see why so many are so involved. However, parallels in
history and current trends all indicate that this issue will
eventually be resolved, that marriage and religion will not be
negatively impacted, and that once again we will find a balance
between religious freedom and individual rights.

2008 is the 30-year
anniversary of California defeating Proposition 6, the Briggs
Amendment, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in
public schools. We were on the right side of history in 1978 and
let’s hope we are wise and fair enough to be there again this year.

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