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Prop 8: Where do you stand?

By Alice Bradley

Remember June 17, 2008? That’s when gay marriage was made legal in California, and thousands of gay couples were finally allowed equality under the law. Now, a little more than three months later, there’s an initiative on the election ballot called Proposition 8. Proposition 8 will take away the right of same-sex couples to marry.
California has long been a vanguard of social equality; In 1948, it became the first state to allow interracial marriage. The State Supreme Court concluded that ” the right to marry is the right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.” In fact, it was the only state to grant interracial marriages, until the United States Supreme Court made interracial marriage legal in all states in 1967. I’m sure there were many people, at the time, who thought that marriage between a white person and a person of color somehow threatened to destroy the sanctity of marriage. But nonetheless, the law was passed, and marriage as an institution was not affected.
It would probably seem outrageous to most of us that interracial marriages were ever illegal. So why is allowing same-sex marriage still so hard for some people to swallow?
People argue that marriage is a sacrament, and the Church doesn’t recognize same-sex union, therefore these unions can’t be given that kind of sacrament. But the state is not qualified to issue a sacrament. What they can give is a license. If you want to argue that gay marriage is unholy, go right ahead; if you want to disallow same-sex unions in your church, you have that right. I got married in front of a judge, so my marriage is pretty unholy as well. If we’re going to declare that marriage is a sacrament, than what is granted by the state should be called a civil union, no matter who you’re marrying. A marriage granted by the state accords the married couple, beyond the legal rights, a solemn and unquestionable recognition of their union, and if the state recognizes the equality of all people, than all people should be granted the right to marry whomever they choose.
The Prop 8 proponents are misleading the voting public with their ads, claiming that churches could be negatively affected and schools forced to teach students about same-sex unions. I’m not sure what the problem with teaching kids about same-sex unions is—you’d think most kids, by the time they’re in school, would have some inkling that some couples are a man and a woman and others are the same sex—but either way, there’s no truth to this argument. California law expressly prohibits teaching anything to kids that conflicts with their family’s beliefs.
So by now you’ve probably deduced that if I lived in California, I’d vote no on Prop 8. (Because I don’t, I’m just going to contribute to the cause.) What about you, readers? How would (or will) you vote, and why? Please keep the conversation respectful of others, as always.


Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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  • Issa

    October 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I’d vote no in a heartbeat if I still lived in California and I have supported the cause financially. I’m hoping to go to my sister-in-laws wedding to her partner next summer. A wedding that has been planned already. A wedding of two of the most amazing woman, who I’m honored to have in my family. They deserve to get married; to have the state (and country) recognize what my family has for years: that these two belong together (soul mates if you will) and will live together as a family forever. They deserve to be treated as such. For their sake and for their future kids sakes.
    ps. Nice post, Alice.

  • Ariel

    October 24, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I was raised Mormon- and I can’t ever see the Mormon church allowing gay and lesbian couples to be “sealed” in their temples. And I think that is really really sad.
    I think whether a church allows a couple to be married in their particular brand of ceremony/service/whatever should be up to the church.
    My personal religion says gay people should be allowed to marry. So if we outlaw gay marriage does that allow me freedom of religion? It is my understanding that we legislate for EVERYONE, not just one group.
    So from a legal standpoint? I FIRMLY believe we should all have equal rights. And I see a large group of people who do not have the same rights.
    How about we get rid of government sponsored ‘marriage’ and just have civil unions? And leave marriage to what it is…a religious ceremony?
    And then we have separation of church and state AND freedom of religion?

  • Dad Gone Mad

    October 24, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    I do live in California and I will be voting NO on Prop. 8.
    As I wrote on my site the other day, “An editorial I read the other day said Prop. 8 must be passed for the sake of the children – a precious, impressionable lot who will suffer immeasurably by having parents of the same gender. I scoffed at that. Where is the outrage about the children who suffer as a result of divorce, infidelity, abuse, and other “crimes” perpetrated by heterosexual couples? Are we to believe that even those kids are better off than those who would be raised by two loving parents who happen to have the same plumbing? Seriously, California. Give me a fucking break.”

  • Torrie

    October 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Alice, this post makes me want to kiss you on the mouth.

  • suburbancorrespondent

    October 24, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I have gay friends, and I have gay friends who are married. However, I think that reading “Heather Has Two Mommies” to 1st-graders (as some school districts have tried to do) is way out of line. The problem with teaching about same-sex marriage in school is that what the school teaches may not be what the parent teaches; also, when the school thinks is appropriate to teach this subject may not be appropriate for the individual student. Schools are for reading, writing, arithmetic, and other academic subjects. Sex education belongs in the home, whether you are teaching about birth control, sexual orientation, or premarital sex. Some people think that homosexuality is perfectly normal; some believe that it is normal for a very small percentage of the population, but not to be encouraged for those who have the possibility to be heterosexual; others believe it is not normal at all. We need to respect each others’ beliefs by not allowing the schools to teach some state-sponsored version of morality that may or may not conflict with ours.

  • Mrs. B. Roth

    October 25, 2008 at 12:27 am

    I’m Mormon, but not in California. You have to knoe this is a tough issue for some of us and I, for one, have been thinking about it long and hard.
    If I were in the voting booth, all alone, just me and God, I’d vote to support gay marriage …

  • laree

    October 25, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Ok, here’s the stupidest thing about this whole proposition: THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ALREADY VOTED ON IT!!! Seriously, do you guys realize this? The state had a vote just a few years ago. The result of the vote BANNED GAY MARRAGES (and it passed by like 70% or something). It was the State Supreme Court that decided to take matters into its own hands. I get so sick of judges that don’t have a clue what their jobs are. The job of the judical branch IS TO ENFORCE PRESENT LAWS- they have no authority to create or change laws. That’s the legislature’s job(ie the cogress!).
    Look, I think it’s wrong. I do. Just because someone CHOOSES (and yes, it’s totally a choice, don’t get mad at me about the whole “I’m born that way garbage” I have a child thats a “born” biter, that doesn’t mean I LET him do it!) to live that way, doesn’t mean they should have everything. I feel the same way about the idiots in prison that somehow win when the sue the state for not having the right kind of peanut butter!
    So I am hopeing that California votes just like it did last time. And that the courts actually uphold the laws this time!

  • Cobwebs

    October 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    My mother is Mormon, and I was dragged to the church until I was a teenager. I think it’s rich that this group moved and settled in Utah in part because they were persecuted for their beliefs about marriage, but are now trying to persecute others for…beliefs about marriage. Way to be consistent, guys.
    LookyDaddy has some wonderful icons if you want to support the cause:
    Part 1
    Part 2

  • carmel

    October 25, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    If I lived in California, I would vote yes on Proposition 8. If gay marriage is legal in California, then all churches are required allow gay marriages. This means that Mormons won’t be able to be married in temples in California, since they don’t allow gay marriage. Is it fair to take away the right for someone to act on their religious beliefs? Also, if you look at California laws, gay couples already have the same rights as those who are married, it’s just under the word ‘partnership.’ It seems to me like Proposition 8 is right, that it lets religious people keep their rights and previous laws allow gay couples to have theirs.

  • Angie

    October 26, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Laree- Wait, what? Your child bites- because he’s teething, or frustrated, or whatever- and you compare your child learning to test boundaries and/or get attention…. to people willing to face ridicule and violence so that they can fulfill the deepest, most human desire of all: to love and be loved and create families?
    Oh. Oh, my. As if denying one’s true self is as easy as whisking a toddler to a naughty spot!
    What happens to your family if Proposition 8 is defeated? You’re FINE. Your family is intact. You wake up and go to work and walk your dog if you have one and take care of your kid and reinforce the “no biting” rule and it’s fine. But gay families? They are literally torn apart. They are told, “Your beloved is no longer yours. Your wedding day, the best day of your life? It’s null and void now. It’s like it didn’t really happen! Oh, well. Do over! Your hard-won recognition, your protection, your guarantee to make end-of-life decisions about organ donation and life support? Yup, that’s GONE. Your state, your home, your city? Well, we saw you as equals for a while, but not anymore.”
    Think about the things you hold sacred, your loved ones who are nearest and dearest. Imagine being told you should simply “unchoose them,” as simply a parent scolds a child. Then tell them that their fight for recognition, for acknowledgment of all that they hold dear is as silly, superfluous and greedily litigious as inmates suing over peanut butter.
    You know, I’ve been following the whole battle from my home in New York, and I’ve been signing the online petitions and considering donating. Money is tight right now. Real tight. But you? You, ma’am, have finally motivated me to put my money where my mouth is.
    I just donated $100 to No On Prop 8 because of your comment. And tomorrow I’m going to call five people and ask them to call five people, and I am going to tell them all it’s because of you. And then I’m going to eat some chunky peanut butter, because simply telling you to go f@%k yourself? Well, I just don’t think that would abide by Alice’s request for respect.

  • alissa

    October 26, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Carmel–that’s not actually true. Prop 8 would NOT change churches’/pastors’ rights to perform marriages only for whom they wish. Separation of church and state. The proponents of Prop 8 are (much to my disappointment and embarrassment as a Christian) spreading lies and distortions.
    “If we’re going to declare that marriage is a sacrament, than what is granted by the state should be called a civil union, no matter who you’re marrying.”—YES!!! I personally think that would solve this whole issue.
    I live in CA and I already voted (by mail) NO on Prop 8. Equal rights for everyone and SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!

  • jaelithe

    October 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    If I lived in California, I would vote no on Proposition 8. As someone who doesn’t live in California, all I can do is urge all Californians to vote no on Prop 8. Do it for children.
    Yes, for children. Children of gay and lesbian couples deserve a stable family structure like anyone else. If the biological mother of a child in a lesbian couple dies, and a court takes that child away from her other mother, the only other parent she has ever known, because her parents weren’t married, WHOM DOES THAT HELP? No one.
    If a child cannot visit his ailing father in a hospital ICU because they are not considered to be “real” family by the hospital staff, WHOM DOES THAT HELP? No one.
    And to you, suburbancorrespondent: Let me tell you while schools should teach children about many different kinds of families. Imagine, for one moment, that you were a little girl in kindergarten, and YOU had two mommies. Imagine that none of the children in your class had never heard of anyone having two mommies. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?
    Teaching kids that gay and lesbian families exist isn’t about promoting some sort of agenda. It’s about making all children, including children with gay and lesbian parents, feel welcome and understood in the classroom.
    Please, people of California: try to have compassion for the FAMILIES whose lives are intimately affected by your decision on this matter. Vote no on Prop 8. Protect families. Protect children. Support same-sex marriage.

  • tracey

    October 26, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    People use words like orthodox, fundamental, liberal or non-traditional but don’t deal at all with the meat of the issue. As voters we need to ask ourselves 2 questions. 1. Is the law going to benefit the society? 2. Does it protect individuals?
    One side argues that homosexuals deserve the right to marry whom they chooses. The other side argues that the disintegration of the traditional family will be bad for society.
    The truth is no one knows if homosexual marriage would benefit gays, straights or society at large and no one has the sociological data to prove their side.
    It’s all based on the personal values of the individual.
    I’m voting yes on Proposition 8.

  • Slim

    October 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I’m thinking that it benefits society to encourage the formation of stable, monogamous realtionships, regardless of the undercarriages of those forming the stable, monogamous realtionships. And I am pretty darned sure that it benefits the children they raise, which also benefits society.
    My denomination already marries same-sex couples. Because of the separation of church and state, most of the county can pretend those marriages don’t exist.
    I’d vote no on Prop 8 if I lived in California, which I don’t.

  • Devon

    October 27, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    If I lived in California, I would vote no on Proposition 8. And Laree, it is not, actually, the job of the judicial branch to enforce laws. It is actually their job to determine the constitutionality of laws that are voted on or created by the legisative branch. Therefore, they were doing exactly what they were mandated to do, by determining whether or not the previous proposition was unconstitutional.

  • Marnie

    October 28, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Alice put it very well in comparing this to interracial marriages, thereby boiling it down to exactly what it is: it’s an issue of civil rights. Some people don’t want other people to have the rights and freedoms that they are guaranteed under the constitution. It’s called “discrimination” and it’s wrong. 40-odd years ago it was not allowing black and white children to get the same education, or not allowing blacks and whites to marry who they loved. Now, even though it’s in different dressing, it’s still discrimination and it’s still wrong.
    I don’t live in CA, but I do live in AZ where they’re trying to pass an amendment to ban gay marriage. I’m voting NO on Prop 102 so that my friends can enjoy the same rights my husband and I have.

  • Angie

    October 28, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Blogger LD has an insightful post up today about increasingly violent clashes between protesters on opposite sides of the Prop 8 issue. It’s not pretty.

  • Diane

    November 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I hope Prop 8 loses. I have a gay kid, and I want him to get married and leave home some day. 🙂

  • Rose

    November 4, 2008 at 2:39 am

    I am so glad to have an opportunity to comment on this. I am a Californian and I am voting “no” to this oppressive proposition. Whether gay people get married or not is such a non-issue, it saddens me that so much money and time has to be spent on this. I frankly do not care one whit what two people do in bed as long as they are not hurting anyone, and I do not believe that making it easy for two people who love each other to bond is helpful to the society not harmful. I am a nurse on a postpartum floor, and I am so tired of hearing about “my baby’s daddy,” I believe that society is much more harmed by people having children without being under the umbrella of marriage. Yet the Mormon church is not targeting single parents. Why – because they are not an easy target. As for what preschoolers learn – the proposition says absolutely nothing about education, that will be decided on the school board level. However, I must say that there are several openly gay and lesbian parents at my children’s schools, and what should we do about them – pretend they do not exist? Ban them from the PTA. I am glad that we had a progressive court system that protected us from our own bigots. As you recall, they had to desegregate the schools as well, left to their own devices, we would have had separate and unequal schools for a very long time. Any way, I wish that religion would stick to helping us be more loving, more tolerant and kinder to each other. If you read the Bible, you will notice that Jesus never condemned homosexuals. I will vote as I am sure Jesus would have voted, to approve a lovely sacramental union, between two people, no matter the gender.