Monday, November 3, 2008

What's in a Word?

I heard from one of my California relatives that Proposition 8, which I refer to as Proposition Hate, will likely pass. This will mean that Californians will write discrimination against the gay and lesbian community into its state constitution. A very sad statement, given that California is viewed by so many as "liberal"...a deep-blue state. From what my relative says, and she and many of the family are voting No on 8, the hang-up is with the word "marriage". If this were gay "civil unions" that would be OK. But "marriage" mean two men or two women with rings, and white, and bells, and cake, and flowers, and garters, and bridesmaids, and groomsmen and horse-drawn carriages, and....???

I know. It's absurd. The whole "show" of weddings, that is.

In California, as in Florida...and probably Arizona, too...the proponents of discrimination have tried to convince frightened people that they should be very, very afraid of gay "marriage" because us queer folk are trying to "redefine" traditional marriage. This argument is so crazy that I don't know quite where to start, but I'll give it a shot.

First, the anti-gay marriage gang keep pulling out the creation stories from Genesis to back up their arguments. "God created male and female" and he instructed them to "go forth and multiply". In both creation stories (yes, there are two) God never said, "I now pronounce you husband and wife". In fact, I would argue that Adam and Eve were actually a heterosexual domestic partnership! But besides all that, if you read the rest of Genesis, you get a pretty clear understanding that our ancestors from way, way, way, waaaaayyy back when had polygamous relationships (Abraham and Hagar and Sarah...Jacob and Rachel and Leah...) So, if I were the anti-marriage gang, I might not want to "go there" with the Biblical backing of my b-s about "traditional" marriage.

Second, which is like unto the first, marriage has been defined and redefined by heterosexuals throughout the centuries. It wasn't about love; it was about heirs and ownership of women and children. Much of what the "think about the children" argument comes down to is paternal ownership of a child. Not that children need a mommy and a daddy, but more like daddy needs to take care of what is "his". My father, an old school lawyer and judge, was always concerned about heterosexual couples having children out of wedlock because, in his mind, this created a legal catastrophe for the children because daddy wasn't committing to taking care of his "property". In today's world, with so many single parents, and lesbian and gay couples with children, to not have laws in place that recognize the multiplicity of relationships would actually do more harm than good for children and their legal protection.

Finally, for us in Florida, gay couples can not get married right now. Even if we have a commitment ceremony, and a clergy person of some faith tradition or another blesses that union, as far as the state authorities are concerned...we are just roommates. That's in statute FOUR times in Florida, and this is a red-state! Our courts aren't about to flip on this one.
And what if we were allowed to marry? Well, many rights guaranteed to heterosexual couples would also be available to gay and lesbian couples. I am still waiting for the explanation of how someone else's relationship status has any bearing on anyone else's relationship status. What are you anti-gay gangsters losing....besides control over my life?

I wrote a letter in support of an op-ed piece by Rev. Brant Copeland who gave the Biblical reasons to Vote No on Amendment Two (Florida's Proposition Hate). A person responded to the Tallahassee Democrat's website, saying "Susan Gage thinks the gay marriage ban is anti-Christian. I think Susan is a sick person!" Well, friends, if my sickness is one that conveys a message of God's love for all of God's children then I hope it consumes my body, mind and spirit!

Californians, Floridians, and Arizonians: don't be led down the path of discrimination because of the word "marriage". Vote No.


anita said...

I put in a comment earlier that I think got lost somewhere. If your California relatives think that it might because Yes on 8 has a slight lead in the pre-election day votes that have already been tabulated. That was expected from the beginning. Early voters normally represent the more conservative base. However, we continue to hold the slightest lead in most polls and Survey USA has even reported a slight gain for us over the weekend. Nothing is sure at this point. IF our people who intend to vote NO, follow through and VOTE, then there's a strong chance it will tip in our direction. Right now, NO ONE can call this prop's outcome.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to see someone from out in CA has given Prop 8 "hope". I am hoping that Vote No on 2 and all the anti discimination amendements and propositions do not make it and that we have a real CHANGE in this country by tomorrow. I am waiting for the vote from Dixville Notch.


SCG said...

Anita--thanks for the additional insight. I'm sure there are polls that show Prop 8 winning and losing, and you're right: no one probably will know for sure until the polls close in California and the votes are counted. Know that I, and others, are praying for you out there.

MCG--I predict that Barack Obama will gain the majority of Dixville Notch's 11 votes! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey there are mmore than 11 voters now and Obama won in both Dixville Notch and Harts Location. Keep your fingers crossed. A prayer from a life long Republican who wants CHANGE.