Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No on Prop. 8...

This entry has been gestating in my head for many days now, and I guess since election day is officially here I can't really keep putting this off.

Proposition 8 is a voter referendum to amend the California constitution to specifically define "marriage" as between a man and woman, thereby overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling which held otherwise.

I was touched by Robynjade13's reason why she opposed the proposition. I agree with her wholeheartedly. I believe that even if homosexuality is a sin, and all the gays are going to burn in hell (which I don't believe), this is none of my business. Personal choice over life partners should be left untouched and unrestrained when no harm comes from it. Redefinition of what basically is a contractual agreement does not violate the sanctity of marriage, because in the secular world it has none to begin. Marriage is a government sanctioned mutual agreement that does not offend any religious belief. Nobody is tying to force churches to recognize same sex marriage. I have no problem with discrimination in the church, they can exclude any protected class for all I care. However, I will not tolerate discrimination in the law.

The main thing that bothers me about this whole proposition 8 fiasco are the scare tactics employed by the proponents of the bill. I hate the fact that the Catholic Church donated to this cause, but it's their choice. The issues has moved away from individual rights to the protection of children. Ads supporting the proposition have a simple message: if this proposition fails, your child will be taught about homosexuality. Their website (which I refuse to link to) has an interview with parents from Massachusetts telling their tale of how the courts there allowed schools to teach about homosexuality. This is a brilliant marketing ploy, the couple comes off as genuine, and truly concerned about the education of their children. They frame this as an issue of allowing "kids to be kids longer" and not desire to discriminate against a sexual orientation. The ad ends with legal citations to the relevant case.

I took some time to read the case and while I wanted to write an in depth analysis of why the ad misuses this legal precedence (I just don't have time studying for the MPRE), I will just give the highlights. The profiled couple was one of two couples who filed suit, the husband of the other couple had to be arrested and forcibly removed from the school when he showed up to complaint. Not good for TV profiles. The Massachusetts law in question (similar to CA) does not require teaching of anything specific, but rather setups a committee to create a curriculum. Each district is then allowed to implement the curriculum as they see fit. The curriculum in question has general requirements dealing with the teaching of tolerance. The Massachusetts Supreme Court decision did not cause the schools to start teaching about homosexuality. While it might have influenced local administrators to implement references to homosexuality, this decision is independent of the court decision. I believe that parents do have limited rights in what their children are taught, but this is not the issue today. Failure to pass the proposition will not mean that children will be taught about gay marriage, there is no cause and effect relationship here. CA school administrators could independently, no matter the outcome Tuesday, decide to do this anyways. If you really want to stop the teaching of same-sex marriage in schools parents need to get involved in the development of the curriculum, denying rights to others and integration discrimination in our laws will not do it.

I was about to finish this entry, but I saw troubling scare tactics by the "No on 8" side. The Courage Campaign Issues Committee (not affiliated with the main No on 8 campaign) came out with an attack ad today that depicted mormon as home invaders (again I refuse to link to this). The ad argues that the Mormon church has donated millions to the Yes on 8 cause and therefore wishes to invade in the lives of others. Actors in the commercials dressed as stereotypical mormons invade a home where they proceed to take of the weddings bands of a same-sex couple, rummage through their house until they finally find their marriage license which they destroy. I find this ad offensive and bigoted. I have many mormons friends whom I love dearly, and while we may disagree on politics we respect each other's opinions. Mormons are not home invaders out to take away your rights, just like my Church they donated and supported a cause they believe in. The main campaigns needs to disown this group, just because the other side uses fear ads, there is no need to do the same.

Elections bring out the worse in people ...

Here is a hope for President Obama.

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