Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proposition 8

In the euphoria of Obama being elected, some things fell into the background for a while. Proposition 8, for those who don't know, was a ballot initiative in the state of California. Gays and lesbians have had the legal right to really get married in California for many months now, and Proppostion 8 proposed taking that right away, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The proposition passed, by a pretty narrow margin, and it didn't take until sometime the next morning for word of that to officially get out. This, to the best of my knowledge, puts gay couples in CA who had already gotten married in some sort of legal limbo. In my mind, though, that's not the worst of it.

People who voted for Propostion 8, for the most part, will probably tell you it had something to do with religion, specifically, the Bible. In the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus (aka, "the rules"), it prohibits a man being with another man. Okay, yes, even I will admit, both versions of the Bible I own do say that. However, they also say that I am prohibited from wearing clothing of mixed fibers (oopsie, guess I have to get rid of several of my favorite shirts), I cannot eat shellfish (DAMN!), and I can in fact sell my two-year-old into slavery. It also says several other things I can't recall off the top of my head that are quite common nowadays.

Most of the people who will tell you it had something to do with religion are of some variation of Christianity. I am a lifelong Episcopalian. I haven't been a regular churchgoer for a while, although I do still interpret a couple of times a month for a deaf person who goes to church. I went to many years of Sunday School, and have sat through many sermons, and, to the best of my knowledge, Jesus was all about love. Loving God, loving each other, just loving everyone and being nice to people. Jesus hung out with people many at the time considered to be the dregs of society, much to the horror of some who would or did follow Him. He did not believe in discrimination at all, so my mind boggles: Why do His followers think discrimination is the right thing to do??

The campaign for Proposition 8 was an ugly one. There were ads saying all the horrible things that would happen to the state if this didn't pass. Who paid for these ads? Well, there are a lot of regular citizens, many from outside the state of California. (Why?? What do they care about what happens in a state they don't even live in??) The Mormon church, and many private members of the church, gave a lot of money to support Proposition 8 as well. Again, where is the love for all that Jesus taught??

I am not gay. I am as straight as they come, really. But this whole thing has hurt a longtime friend of mine, someone I have known for 30 years, very deeply. He's a resident of California, and is hurt by the fact that his fellow citizens have delegated him to less-than-a-full-citizen status. My heart hurts for him, and I wish there was something I could do for him to heal his hurt.

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