About three months ago, I was in a bit of a lull on blog topics and invited people to suggest ideas for me to write about. I ended up using just one of the suggestions (so suggested by two people) but had filed the remainder away until I faced another mental block and was scrambling for something interesting to blog about. An anonymous commenter had suggested I blog about Prop 8, perhaps out of curiousity to see where I stood on the issue but I mostly didn’t blog about it because I wasn’t sure what I could add to the topic that hadn’t all ready been said.
But the idea of it as a topic for the blog has been nagging at me for quite some time, every since it was suggested that I blog about it and in light of seeing Milk a few weeks ago and then listening to both Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn make reference to Prop 8 and the state of things in California in relation to same-sex marriage during their acceptance speeches at the Oscars, I came to realize that I do have something to say, regardless as to whether or not it’s all ready been said.
I hold very tightly to my beliefs of what is fair and what is right, and believe in above all else, the equal treatment of people regardless of labels and classifications. I am against any form discrimination that is based on race or religion, or gender or sexual orientation or anything else that makes one individual different from another.
I am constantly disheartened and sickened by the inequal treatment of those that do not fall under what is considered to be the ‘norm’; I am constantly disheartened and sickened by those that past judgement based on the restrictions of their own beliefs. It’s one of the reasons that I made the conscious decision to move away from organized religion – it’s not possible for me to live within a doctrine that is based on judgement of others.
I believe in the division of church and state; that how a nation is governed should be irrelevant to the religious beliefs of those in office and yet it is clear that this is not the case nor can it be in a deomocratic society, where popular vote exists and to a certain degree, a majority of votes are based on religious beliefs. It’s impossible for their to be a division of church and state when a proposition like Prop 8 is passed when you consider that 84% of the people that voted yes are weekly churchgoers.
I am against a vote being passed based on the use of the word TRADITIONAL.
To me, in this context, traditional means little more than outdated and old-fashioned. Taditional has no place in determining equal rights and what is fair and what is right.
The polls showed that of the people that voted yes for Prop 8, 84% were weekly churchgoers, 60% were married people, 58% were non-college graduates, 81% were white evangelicals.
Of the people that voted against Prop 8, 96% were gays and lesbians, 83% were those that never attend church, 62% were single, 58% were those without children.
For those that voted yes to Prop 8, I wonder what were the guiding principles that led them to vote the way they did. How much of it was religion based? Did they go to church on a Sunday morning, sit and listen to a church sermon that preached the reasoning behind Prop 8, did they mark their ballot yes because they knew that was how their neighbor would vote? Did they mark their ballot yes because of their own views of marriage, their traditional views, their idea of man and wife? Did they vote yes simply because they lacked the education to make a decision based on their own knowledge and awareness of the society in which they lived? How many people voted yes because they themselves couldn’t understand what it’s like not to be treated equally because they had never faced discrimination?
And for those that voted no to Prop 8, of which I would have been one of (under I guess the classification of those that never attend church) did they vote based simply on what they believed to be inequal and wrong and unfair? I don’t believe that anyone voting against Prop 8 did it out of hatred or anger or a closeminded attitude based on the idea of what is ‘traditional’ to society. Their votes were for what is right and what is fair. Their vote was for equal treatment under the law.
The expectation, the hope for a separation of church and state, as identified by Thomas Jefferson over two hundred years ago. Is there no sense of tradition in the letter that Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?
I don’t usually write about politics on my blog, mostly because I feel out of my league on issues that I don’t always understand. But when I read about things like Prop 8 it seems pretty clear to me there where it was involved, there was no separation between church and state, not when you look at the polls and the infuence that the church had on the outcome of the vote, despite the public display opposing it: A coalition of Silicon Valley executives urged a ‘No’ vote on Proposition 8; Google officially opposed Proposition 8 “as an issue of equality.” Apple Inc. also opposed Proposition 8 as a “fundamental” civil rights issue, and donated $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. And all ten of California’s largest newspapers editorialized against Proposition 8.
In concluding his acceptance speech at The Academy Awards ceremony, Penn mentioned the protesters who had lined the streets of Hollywood near the Oscar festivities, holding anti-gay signs: “For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.” (1)
And in his acceptance speech for best screen play, Black said, of Harvey Milk, “I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.” (2)
Is there really anything left for me to say?