The Importance of California’s Proposition 8

To be honest I hadn’t really been paying too much attention to Proposition 8 in California, I guess I just viewed it as just another one of those votes that irritates me. But after reading this article in the New York Times and as a member of the queer community I feel that it is not just my right but my responsibility to speak out on this matter.

Proposition 8 matters.
It matters because it is an issue about human rights.
Civil liberties.
In fact what it is mostly about is discrimination.

Before you stop reading, hear me out.

This is not about what you believe in as a church. This is not about what your religion dictates. This is about legalities. This proposition is allowing a blending of church and state. It is about denying two people that love each other the right to visit the other one in the hospital should one of them fall ill. It is about not allowing two committed people the right to adopt a child because it would be better to have that child jump through several different dysfunctional foster homes. It is about the legal institution of marriage not the religious one. I don’t care what your religion dictates. Feel free not to have gay marriages at your church, synagogue, mosque, temple or what have you. That is your right in following with your religious beliefs. But a legal marriage license is simply a partnership between two people that affects their taxes, their property, their bank accounts, visitation rights and all other legal matters. What happens outside of the realm of the legal system really is not a concern.

What I find unacceptable is not allowing two committed people who intend to spend the rest of their lives together the right to do so legally. It is perfectly ok to allow Britney Spears to have a 24-hour marriage because she married a man yet gay couples that have spent 10, 20, 30 or any number of years together are denied that right. How is that acceptable to this society? How is it acceptable in a society that touts “liberty and justice for all”? That is not justice.

Also, I find it fascinating that many liberals are suddenly conservative when we talk about gay marriage just because of that one little word marriage. But you know what I’m not willing to budge, when you speak in legalities you apply for a license to get married not to have a civil union. If you want to oppose the term marriage then it must not hold legally for anyone. It is perfectly acceptable if everyone, regardless of whether they are marrying someone of the opposite sex or someone of the same sex, is applying for a license for a civil union. That way it would still be the same rights and the word marriage is no longer in contention. But until that can change the simple fact is that in order to be equal and fair, the equivalent would be to allow gay marriage. Creating new laws to separate the two institutions legally allows for discrimination and therefore is not acceptable, hence the need for gay “marriage”.

In fact this sort of discrimination reeks of the same sort that existed when interracial marriages were not allowed. Is this truly any different?

Again, this is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of legalities. And until we can offer all people equal rights this will be a problem for this country and, in my opinion, for the world.

In the immortal words of Catie Curtis:
Some day we’ll all be free
I can feel it, it’s our destiny
Some day, I believe
Love will make an honest world for me

I hope Californians will choose to keep that refrain true.