Prop 8: Where do you Stand?
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.