(I don’t usually get political on this blog, but we are living in some charged times, and this issue is close to my heart. At first I thought there was no way this prop would pass but I’ve been hearing it’s ahead in the polls. Time to do something. Mad mad mad props to LesbianDad for setting this up.)
When I was growing up my parents had gay friends. It was a never a big deal; my parents never sat down with me and had “the Marriage Talk” or tried to define relationships. It was just a given. Their friends were their friends and whatever relationship any of them were in was matter-of-fact. So and so are married, so and so are boyfriends, etc. One couple in particular were these really great guys who… well, they had an impact. I remember them, and I wasn’t all that old, maybe 7 or 8. They were great guys and very committed. Some couples are just “married”, (and when you’re a kid you just kind of know it) whether on paper or not.
Well, years went on and I, being both a bit naïve and a little clueless of mainstream culture, wandered onto the high school scene not realizing that some people really get emotionally up in arms about homosexuality. I mean, in theory, I knew there were people who had a problem with it, and I had always heard the term “fag” thrown around the schoolyard but it was meaningless; I hadn’t personally come into contact with anyone who really let it personally upset them. (There was one neighbor, but he was such a bigot about everybody he was generally dismissed as a goddamn son of bitch.)
So of course in high school (semi-)adult conversations start taking place and I began running into people who were absolutely appalled by anything (capital G) Gay. At this point, I’m still clueless. I remember clearly having a conversation where I responded to someone’s argument with, “It’s just two people who love each other.” I just didn’t get what the big deal was.
Suddenly, some of those people had a problem with me because I didn’t have a problem with homosexuality. The impression was that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t share the same opinion as the masses. Not only were these kids who would have harassed anyone gay in a split second (not that anyone ever came out in high school back then), but I was also getting flack for my personal viewpoint.
And that’s what Proposition 8 reminds me of.
For those of you who don’t live in California we’ve got this proposition that wants to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Right now, same-sex couples can marry in the state of California. A law like Prop 8 did pass, sadly, in 2000 and was overturned as being unconstitutional according to the equality stipulations in our state constitution. (Because you know, that’s the job of the state Supreme Court… to look at laws and make sure they are lawful according to our constitution.) This new proposition wants to change the California Constitution.
And I’m not OK with that.
I’m not OK with lobbyists trying to change our constitution willy nilly. I’m not OK with one group of people trying to dictate their viewpoint on everyone else. It reminds me of the schoolyard and the bully tactics that are used. As if I’m going to change my mind because you keep shouting at me. I definitely don’t want anyone trying to legally bind me to their viewpoint either. (For the record, if a gay activist group (or any group for that matter) tried to impose blanket definitions in our constitution about groups of individuals and their behaviors… I’d have a problem with that, too.)
But it’s not me I’m so worried about, because I know I’m not going to change my mind. I obviously support gay marriage. However, this is a complicated issue – it’s not just about whether you’re comfortable with homosexuality, you have to consider the rights that are protected under legal marriage; such as being granted access to your spouse if he/she ends up in the hospital. I’m worried about those folks who wander into the symbolic high school who have never really thought about the issue. By changing our constitution you’re basically saying one group is better than the other. And for you, Joe, who hasn’t really thought about it… hey, it’s in the Constitution!
That’s a great endorsement, isn’t it? Why really think about it at all? It could even excuse all sorts of things.
Such as what other changes this would open the way for…?
For example: Sixty-one percent of Californians agree that the mother is the best possible care-giver. Not dads, not aunts, not grandparents, or foster parents… just moms. Moms are THE best. Everyone always turns to the mothers anyway. We’re just making it official, because we don’t want our schools to accidentally misinform children that other caregivers might be of the same quality.
Also, according to history, Californians have blonde, brown, or black hair and we just want that on permanent record. We won’t be taking away the rights of any redheads but just so you know, according to our new constitution, you’re not really as good as the real Californians.
And if you’re not as good as the rest of us who cares if other benefits, over time, start to slide a little?
(If you think Prop 8 isn’t step one in a larger plan then I’m not the only one who is/was naïve.)
Right now, I’m pretty happy that we have a constitution that protects equality for everyone. Vote No on Prop 8.
If you want to help, write a post about what marriage equality means to you, and/or grab the very cool fundraising thermometer for your sidebar (email for the code), and then tell LesbianDad about it.
– the weirdgirl
P.S. I want to hear YOUR story about that fifth-grade rite of passage… Marriage Ed! You know, where you had to have a signed permission slip, and they filed the boys into one room and the girls into another, and you had to watch that embarrassing movie?! That’s one of Prop 8’s big arguments, you know; no teaching it in schools.
Wait, you say you never had Marriage Ed?
Oh that’s right, they don’t teach a course like that in California. Must be too busy teaching math and English.