Thursday, November 13, 2008

Final thoughts on Prop 8? Probably not...

I would like to put a final thought together on the whole fiasco that was California Proposition 8 but it looks like it is going to be a continuing issue. As such, you will continue to hear from me. Several lawsuits have begun over the legal merit of using ‘the will of the people’ to pass a discriminatory Constitutional amendment. I have yet to hear how an individual who voted Yes on Prop 8 can deny that it was discriminatory regardless why they voted yes. “It’s God’s law,” “It’s not Biblical,” “Since the beginning of time…”. Okay, fine. However, I can also separate what I choose to live versus what I choose to compel others to live.

California Proposition 8, Arizona Proposition 112, and Florida Proposition 2 were never about legislating the moral correctness of homosexual activity. I believe the majority of those voting Yes did so on merits directly unrelated to the actual propositions. The fears related to the numerous “What-If’s” deceived many away from the core issue of the amendment. The core issue being: How do you treat one set of citizens different from another? To do so is discrimination regardless of why you do it. That cannot be denied. A no vote on Prop 8 was an endorsement for equality, not homosexuality.

In reflection, between my two blog sites, a handful of you were quite upset at my alleged apostasy and inflammatory antics in my stance against Proposition 8. Even though most of us have reconciled, some of us haven’t, I think if we were 100% honest with each other, you would admit to still doubting my prayer frequency on the issue while I would still suspect blind obedience to perceived infallibility amongst idolized untouchables. That’s human nature. We all have human frailties and preconceived notions on both sides. I apologize for that, yet I know that it will probably still go on, just as you will continue to suspect me of lacking testimony for sometime yet to come.

We have basic scientific differences of opinion that overlap into our religious views. I believe there are people born with a homosexual orientation. Many of you do not share that same belief. Do I also believe there is choice in action? Yes. What I do not profess to understand is how or why God would allow certain of His children to a life of probation that would require celibacy until the afterlife. Even Job thinks that's cruel.

I have spoken with many of you who have casually dismissed homosexual orientation as a human tendency similar to an affinity for chocolate and not as an essential characteristic of who they are. I also do not profess to comprehend how I would feel to be a faithful believer in a religious community that implies that - how I was born - would be an affront to God.

Over the last few months, what kept me going forward in the face of attacks from family, friends and others, were the unbelievable numbers of you who quietly emailed to thank me for publicly voicing what you were privately thinking and feeling. I do not doubt that if we were to do an anonymous poll among all readers, it would probably be split very similarly to the California vote.

On a sore loser tangent, how the state of California can allow a state amendment to pass on a 50% +1 vote basis is ridiculous. This type of legislative strategy will have laws changed too often and doesn’t represent an overwhelming will of the people. Florida just passed their pro hetero-marriage amendment with 62% because in Florida, a constitutional amendment requires 60% majority passage.

Getting back to why this issue is so important to me. As someone who, in his teenage years, was on the wrong side of the bigotry debate and spread hatred with relative enjoyment; I found Christ during my senior year in high school. I put the hate behind me and allowed Christ's love into my heart. Having turned away from hate, I now find bigotry of any kind extremely offensive. Add to that my lifelong passion with American history, my heroic view of the founding fathers and my love of our Constitution as an evolving document fundamental to our success as an independent nation.

Then enter Proposition 8, which grew into a consorted religious effort, not to preserve the sanctity of marriage, but to reaffirm to the entire state the religious position of homosexuality as a sin - which had nothing to do with Proposition 8. With sin being the face of the movement and the "protect the children" motto as the engine, the religious groups used Prop 8 as a tool to deny a targeted group of citizens of their Constitutional rights to civil equality by amending a sacred document to legislate “separate but equal” and then to have the audacity to do it in the name of Christ. I found it shameful. It offended me on every possible sensitivity.

How can we, as Mormons, who have experienced religious bigotry on levels no religion in our American history has claim to, how can we endorse such an political amendment? How can we as Americans, who have such an embarrassing history with regards to our treatment of minority groups while patriotically professing that “All men are created equal…”, how can we embrace such a recycled faulty statute as “separate but equal?”

Unfortunately the Confused Winner Party (Mormons) are having a tough time understanding why the Sore Loser Party (the No on Prop 8 voters) are marching and protesting on LDS sites. They do not understand why they are suing to block the "will of the people" from legally discriminating against a group of citizens. I have heard, "They lost fair and square, why don't they just give up already?" I thought about trying to explain why but I don't think they really even care.

In reflection of Prop 8, where the two sides fundamentally differ is that while the Sore Loser Party may have to to apologize for some of their methods they see the need for 52% of their fellow Californians to repent of their position.


Scott H. said...

Not that I agree with everything, but you put it well, and without offending anyone. A good read. Thanks brother...

Though I did finally hear a valid argument for Yes on 8 and it had to do with children, but not the traditional one.

It went something like this: children have a right first and foremost to be raised by a father and a mother. Countless studies have shown that the best environment for a child is with a father and mother. While not being against gays rights to adopt or join in civil union, Keeping marriage defined as between man and woman keeps adoption's first choice as going to a man and a woman. Even most homosexuals can agree that either having both a mother and father to raise them, or the lack of having both a father and a mother in the home, has affected them.

While looking back I'm not so sure of the tie in with Yes on 8, it's a valid argument. At the same time I am in no way denying gays ability to raise and love a child. I am positive that they would be both capable and able to raise a child. The question is, what's ideal for the child? No matter if one is more "butch" and plays the role of the father, or one is more feminine and plays the role of the mother, it is not the same as having an actual Father (male) and Mother (female) in the home raising a child.

Just some food for thought

T.J. Shelby said...

It wasn't offensive? Dang it. Now I have to rewrite it to try and shock some sense into people. Lol.

Interesting point on parents and kids, I've heard it before but thrown in with "a low stress environment" and "a household of love."

As interesting as it is, it still has nothing to do with Prop 8...