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California’s Proposition 8: “morally bankrupt”

October 25, 2008
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A guest-post by my friend Duff Beach, who has contributed many thoughtful and insightful comments to this blog over the past few years.  Thanks for this, Duff!

Last weekend the Proposition 8 coalition approached my family as we emerged from the Catholic church my wife and I attend with our two young children. As I discussed with them, slogans notwithstanding, Proposition 8 is three things: anti-marriage, anti-family, and traditional discrimination.

How many marriages will Proposition 8 protect? None. It has no effect on heterosexual marriage.

On the other hand, if passed, how many marriages will Prop. 8 destroy? Thousands on November 4, and tens of thousands and more in the future. Real people, in loving, lifetime relationships will be told their relationships are second class. They will be told they aren’t and can’t be full members of society. My old neighbors, my real estate agent, my colleagues, the parents of children my daughter goes to preschool with, all marginalized.

How many families will Proposition 8 protect? Again, none.

How many families will Prop. 8 attack? Literally millions; every extended family that includes a committed, life-time, same-sex relationship, or even the possibility of one. That means Ellen Degeneres’s family, that means Dick Cheney’s family, it means the families of those kids my children go to school with, and it may well mean your family, whether you know it or not.

Lesbian and gay people are just that, people, with families — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children — who love them. Prop. 8 attacks them. Not obliquely or by accident, but directly, with no other intent.

This discrimination has consequences. I witnessed first-hand the pain my friend suffered when she reached her twenties and her mother finally revealed to her that mom’s “friend” and “housemate” of more than a decade was actually mom’s partner. My friend wasn’t crushed because her mother is a lesbian, she was crushed because her mother felt the need to lie to her daily for well over a decade for fear that people would discriminate against her daughter.

I witnessed first-hand a “traditional” marriage fail because the wife is a lesbian. In her family that wasn’t acceptable. She tried hard to fight who she is. She suppressed it for many years. She tried to conform to what society wanted. In the end, it couldn’t change who she is. As a result she suffered, her husband suffered, and their two families suffered.

What traditions will Prop. 8 uphold? The tradition of thousands of years of discrimination. The tradition of forcing confused, anguished young people further away from society. The tradition of hate, and imposing self-loathing on a small, but significant part of the population. And the tradition of discouraging stable relationships between same-sex lovers.

The religious right has made this a cause celebre, but it is not the government’s job to enforce religious norms. California is a civil society, not a theocracy. The California Constitution, Article I, Section 4, prescribes, “Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference,” and, like the federal constitution, bars the establishment of a State religion. Are we now to repudiate that Californian and American tradition?

Catholic churches are under no obligation to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Nor are LDS churches, Evangelicals, Jewish or Islamic temples, nor any other religious organization. Right now, without Prop.8, religious conservatives can go right on decrying the “gay agenda” and discriminating to their hearts’ content. Right now people who are uncomfortable calling a gay union “marriage” are free to refrain from doing so. What does Prop. 8 add? It adds pain. This cannot be a proper goal for our state’s constitution.

Proposition 8 doesn’t help anyone, but hurts many. It is, in short, morally bankrupt.

Protect marriage, protect families, vote no on Proposition 8.

MizM adds: The Proposition 8 supporters have added extortion to their arsenal of Rovian campaign tactics: see here and here, and then donate to “No on 8” here!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2008 10:11 pm

    Thank you for your opinion Duff – please try to look at why I’m voting Yes on Prop 8 the issue here is try to look at the facts without being pulled into emotions.

    You were leaving a catholic church that clearly teaches that the church only has 7 sacraments that are personal moments with God…marriage between a husband and wife are joined with Jesus at the head for the purpose of building the city of God. My husband and I are infertile – we are blessed to know that the church only teaches and expects us to help the common good in our actions. SO between working, serving the poor, and loving my God, family and life in this order I’ve been able to further investigate why Voting Yes on Prop 8 is important for the common Good.

    Proposition 8 stands for religious freedom – case in point Same Sex Couples currently share the same benefits as heterosexual couples per CA family 297. (please see below)

    I too have many friends in same sex relationships and the law of God is to love everyone regardless of our beliefs and lifestyles – again this is protected under CA Family code 297.

    Why aren’t the GLTB going after creating a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership code, like the one below from CA; and not need to call it marriage? The only reason to be going after the title of Marriage is to forcibly change someone’s cherished definition into what GLTB think it should be. That is NOT American and same sex couples are already creating babies through scientific method where a child suddenly is property and something that someone is fulfilling their personal need, no longer a gift as our Country’s motto is One nation under God – a man and a woman are coupled together they fit together and if meant to be are gifted with the ability to bring to earth new life.

    The issue here again is that in 2000 – 4.1mm people voted that TRADITIONAL Marriage which currently both current presidential parties state is between a man and a woman.

    Voting no on Prop 8 is not the answer for people who support same sex relationships. MARRIAGE is not about giving same sex couples the same rights as straight couples, but it appears to be part of an agenda to forcibly change groups who disagree with homosexuality. Wht else was a vote of 4.1mm American CA people overruled by 4 appointed CA Supreme court justices?

    I too have studied this issue at length – and I continue to come back to CA domestic partnership code – it is concerning that Holywood with it’s horrendous expectation of marriage and explotation of children and married people would be so facinated to support defeating Prop 8. Again, why has PG&E donated $250k to attack Prop 8?

    Again, both parties support tradition of Marriage is between a man and a women for the common good of a society. It dawns on me that 50% of the marriages that are successful are speaking up and explaining their case that marriage is between a man and a woman. Personal values are taught from home by parents – who were blessed with a child either by natural birth or adoption – we can never say that a child was born without both a man and a woman – this is also natural law…why mess with it, when we have the codes in place to protect and honor people of same sex desires?

    When the first graders were taken to City hall to witness two people of the same sex getting married – I wondered how strange this is…and why are children being forced to experience these situatons at such young ages?

    Once I surrendered to seeking Truth – I couldn’t simply support something that is being pushed into my face that doesn’t seem sensible when all the laws are in place to protect our gay community and support them in loving personal relationships – such as the relationship your friends mother is in- love them all – just investigate purpose – and try to see where the holy blessed church is trying to prepare our way for a true relationship with Truth…

    CA family code 297 (a) Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to share
    one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of
    mutual caring.
    (b) A domestic partnership shall be established in California when
    both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the
    Secretary of State pursuant to this division, and, at the time of
    filing, all of the following requirements are met:
    (1) Both persons have a common residence.
    (2) Neither person is married to someone else or is a member of
    another domestic partnership with someone else that has not been
    terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity.
    (3) The two persons are not related by blood in a way that would
    prevent them from being married to each other in this state.
    (4) Both persons are at least 18 years of age.
    (5) Either of the following:
    (A) Both persons are members of the same sex.
    (B) One or both of the persons meet the eligibility criteria under
    Title II of the Social Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section
    402(a) for old-age insurance benefits or Title XVI of the Social
    Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 1381 for aged
    individuals. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section,
    persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership
    unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62.
    (6) Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic
    partnership.
    (c) “Have a common residence” means that both domestic partners
    share the same residence. It is not necessary that the legal right
    to possess the common residence be in both of their names. Two
    people have a common residence even if one or both have additional
    residences. Domestic partners do not cease to have a common
    residence if one leaves the common residence but intends to return.

    297.5. (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights,
    protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
    responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
    derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
    government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
    of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.
    (b) Former registered domestic partners shall have the same
    rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
    responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
    derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
    government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
    of law, as are granted to and imposed upon former spouses.
    (c) A surviving registered domestic partner, following the death
    of the other partner, shall have the same rights, protections, and
    benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities,
    obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes,
    administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common
    law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to
    and imposed upon a widow or a widower.
    (d) The rights and obligations of registered domestic partners
    with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those
    of spouses. The rights and obligations of former or surviving
    registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of
    them shall be the same as those of former or surviving spouses.
    (e) To the extent that provisions of California law adopt, refer
    to, or rely upon, provisions of federal law in a way that otherwise
    would cause registered domestic partners to be treated differently
    than spouses, registered domestic partners shall be treated by
    California law as if federal law recognized a domestic partnership in
    the same manner as California law.
    (f) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights
    regarding nondiscrimination as those provided to spouses.
    (g) No public agency in this state may discriminate against any
    person or couple on the ground that the person is a registered
    domestic partner rather than a spouse or that the couple are
    registered domestic partners rather than spouses, except that nothing
    in this section applies to modify eligibility for long-term care
    plans pursuant to Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 21660) of Part
    3 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
    (h) This act does not preclude any state or local agency from
    exercising its regulatory authority to implement statutes providing
    rights to, or imposing responsibilities upon, domestic partners.
    (i) This section does not amend or modify any provision of the
    California Constitution or any provision of any statute that was
    adopted by initiative.
    (j) Where necessary to implement the rights of registered domestic
    partners under this act, gender-specific terms referring to spouses
    shall be construed to include domestic partners.
    (k) (1) For purposes of the statutes, administrative regulations,
    court rules, government policies, common law, and any other provision
    or source of law governing the rights, protections, and benefits,
    and the responsibilities, obligations, and duties of registered
    domestic partners in this state, as effectuated by this section, with
    respect to community property, mutual responsibility for debts to
    third parties, the right in particular circumstances of either
    partner to seek financial support from the other following the
    dissolution of the partnership, and other rights and duties as
    between the partners concerning ownership of property, any reference
    to the date of a marriage shall be deemed to refer to the date of
    registration of a domestic partnership with the state.
    (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), for domestic partnerships
    registered with the state before January 1, 2005, an agreement
    between the domestic partners that the partners intend to be governed
    by the requirements set forth in Sections 1600 to 1620, inclusive,
    and which complies with those sections, except for the agreement’s
    effective date, shall be enforceable as provided by Sections 1600 to
    1620, inclusive, if that agreement was fully executed and in force as
    of June 30, 2005.

  2. Duff permalink
    October 27, 2008 10:38 pm

    Wow.
    1. Sacraments have no place in civil government. California is not a theocracy.
    2. Enforcing “sacraments” as civil law hardly qualifies as religious freedom.
    3. Regardless of what the State of California says, you can define marriage however you’d like. You don’t need the state constitution to do it for you.
    4. The grade-schoolers that went to San Francisco’s City Hall went there at their parents’ suggestion, not the teacher’s, and not the school district’s.
    5. PG&E is a power company; it has nothing to do with Hollywood.
    6. You betray your obvious intent to discriminate and not allow the same rights to same-sex couples with your discussion of childbearing and parenting.
    7. It’s ok that your religious views differ from mine. It’s not ok to enshrine them in the California constitution.

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