I am very aware that certain friends and members of my family think I'm a free spirit, an outcast, a black sheep, a sinner, a lost soul, confused/lost/mistaken, etc....however - I live in a country where I was given the right to express my thoughts. This country that most everyone I know claims to support and love for the freedoms they have - but then they turn that love into hate when they hear something that goes against what they value.
I value freedom - the freedom to believe and the freedom to explore other thoughts and beliefs. I value respect and love. I value honesty and kind-heartedness. I value family and I value what others have to offer.
This issue makes me so passionately sad and I hope that you will not stop reading just because the topic does not align with what you believe.
I don't know how you might not have heard about this by now...but Prop 8 is:
The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 is "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." The entirety of the text to be added to the constitution is: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $35.8 million and $37.6 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot that day and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest.
And it passed. And there is sadness in my heart over this.
I'm not gay. I don't have a lot of gay friends. I have a few family members who are gay, some who are out and some who are not. But it does NOT matter. What matters is that people who love each other are not allowed to marry in our legal system.
BUT - if you happen to have a penis and you happen to find someone who has a vagina---you can marry for ANY reason. (sorry to break it down to the basics...bear with me)
And people argue that we must protect the sanctity of THIS? penis + vagina = the ability to have a marriage??
Are we not smarter than this??
Here is a few examples that take issue with this equation.
1) I had two male friends in the military. Both were young, early 20's. Both married a friend from high school to get extra money from our government as a married person in the military. Married not for love----for money. FROM OUR GOVERNMENT.
The women got full medical benefits and other bonuses (discounts and access to certain things on military bases) and the men both gave the girls a kickback on the extra dough. One sent back money monthly, one just gave her a huge portion of his tax return yearly. Both of them admitted that they did not think of this on their own---they had buddies they met in basic training who were doing it. They did not know each other---one was navy, one was marines. They just both happened to do the same scam and both heard of it from others in their respective branches who were also doing the same scams.
THESE marriages---absolutely protected. One vagina, one penis = LEGAL marriage.
2) Britney Spears and Jason Something - a friend from high school. Married in Vegas on a whim---thought it would be fun. Married for 55 hours. Less than THREE days. TOTALLY legal. one penis, one vagina = legal marriage.
I have no comment on this type of marriage because it is too absurd to discuss.
3) Marriage by mail, aka mail order bride. TOTALLY legal if you are a male and help a female get a visa by marrying her. She gains her citizenship while making him happy in a pretend marriage.
Yep, that's a great marriage. Definitely what the marriage license is all about.
4) Marriages where the wife is battered (or husband I suppose). The woman is beaten down repeatedly and too afraid to leave because she is unable to support herself and her children without the income/help from her husband. She can't leave him because she has no home for her kids, no income to feed/clothe them, and all she has to do is let herself be beaten down a bit each day/week/month and in exchange, he will take care of the family. She just has to suffer for her children.
THIS type of marriage we support. We allow this type of marriage. It works - one penis, one vagina=legal marriage.
HOWEVER---find someone with the same anatomy who LOVE each other and will do anything for the CHANCE at just having the sheer joy and happiness and the same civil rights as others and we say no?
Divorce rates are ridiculously high, but people are still crying over protecting the "sanctity" of marriage?? What do you care??? What sanctity is left anymore?? 50% fail. See a problem with the "sanctity" of the marriage??
It is none of my business who loves who and whether I am a pro-gay rights activist or not---it is NOT my business to dictate that legal marriage MUST have one penis and one vagina.
Keith Olbermann said it best. It's lengthy but WELL WORTH IT. I copied part of his transcript for those of you not able to watch the video. It could not have been said better than this:
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.**thanks to my geeky blogger-friend Flea for posting the video-I absolutely appreciate seeing this.
Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.
How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.
You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.