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Gay is the New Black - This is a phrase I have jokingly used for years now. Today however, it is no joke.
My joy over the milestone of electing our nation's first black president is diminished this morning over the unwelcoming news that this country has now officially chosen a new group to discriminate against… gay people.
Here in California we voted on proposition 8, an amendment to our constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. As of this moment, it appears the proposition will pass (although not all of the precincts have reported) meaning gay marriage will NOT be allowed. I don't know how to respond to this. I would expect this in conservative states but not in California. This makes me not want to get married (I haven't made any decisions yet). After all, if I saw a restaurant with a sign out front that said "no blacks allowed" I would not go into that restaurant.
We are a nation that elected our first black president last night. Voters overwhelmingly turned out to support a man who stands up for the rights of ALL people. So, considering he earned the majority, this leads me to believe that some of these same people who voted for Obama ALSO voted to ban gay marriage. Who are you people and what are you thinking? I must place blame where blame is due… on the "Yes for Prop. 8" campaign for endorsing discrimination, exploiting religion, creating fear and misleading the public.
The campaign against gay marriage brought up children over and over again. There was the fear that gay marriage will be taught in schools. First of all, I have to say that idea is ridiculous! Who reading this was taught anything about marriage in school? Here's what my interpretation of this situation: it was brought up in a couple of classrooms because the kids started talking about it. Maybe there was a kid with gay parents or a book in the library about it and a student asked the teacher what this was all about, so the teacher explained it. That isn't "teaching gay marriage" in schools. However, this is a civil rights issue so I can see gay marriage being taught in that regard – about the history and evolution of civil rights in our society. But you know… so what??? Why does this matter? Why do we care if our children know about homosexuality (and all of them will) anyway? What will it harm? Will they all turn gay? Will their heads explode? Someone please provide me with an example of how a child was harmed by homosexuality (and don't even go there with child molestation because being turned on by sexual images of a child and being turned on by sexual images of an adult of the same sex are two completely different things)! Is it really that hard to tell our kids, "Most of us fall in love with someone of the opposite gender but some people fall in love with someone of the same gender… and that's okay if it's what makes them happy" < what is wrong with this explanation?
I must also address religion in this discussion. How on earth can people use religion (particularly Christianity) as an argument for this? Is it not widely known that marriage is not simply a religious institution? Has no one heard of a civil ceremony? Basically it is being expressed that a large group of people cannot get married because it doesn't follow the religion of another large group of people (though there are gay Christians… Hello? Love thy neighbor, right?). Is this fair? If you don't want to believe in gay marriage because it goes against your religion then fine… whatever floats your boat! But don't use your boat to drown others with your personal beliefs! I am an atheist. I don't think that love between two people has anything to do with God. I don't think that God should even be mentioned in a wedding ceremony because I think it should be about the two individuals who love each other. Yeah they may love God or Allah or Buddha or even Satan too but hey, I also love ice cream and I wouldn't mention that in my wedding either! So, these are my beliefs… do I think its right to start a movement to change all wedding ceremonies? HELL NO! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS WOULD I EVER EVEN DREAM OF THAT! And neither should the other side!
So, what do we do now? Can our State Supreme Court overturn this decision? Should they? It is clear discrimination, right? It goes against our national constitution & bill of rights, doesn't it? When does our government step in? Should our government save us from ourselves in cases like this? I want to say yes so that my side will win but I have to say no because that isn't how the world should be. Here is what needs to happen: this needs to go on the next ballot and the people need to be educated about how dangerous this is. We all need to be reminded about the plight of the Jewish people, black people, physically & mentally disabled people and see just how this fits in. We need to be reminded that marriage has constantly evolved… women used to be categorized as "property" in marriage and interracial marriage used to be illegal for cryin' out loud! Those of us who support gay marriage need to have real discussions with those who don't. Don't try to sway others' core values, but just point out that their beliefs shouldn't dictate another's rights.
We must stand up for one another and for what's right, even if the group we're standing for is nothing like us. We have learned this over and over throughout history. I'll end this post with a quote (like I always like to do). This one is on the wall at the holocaust museum in Washington DC. I know that these two issues are very different but the principle is the same:
"When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak."
Ask yourself, what could society discriminate against you for? Wouldn't you want someone to stand up for you? Do what's right, people!