Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Proposition 8

I just have a minute but I want to say this.

Point One: No matter what your views are on gay marriage, and I don't supposed I can change them, whatever they are, as a schoolteacher, I can tell you this: The yes on Prop 8 people are lying. Gay marriage will not be "taught" in schools. Marriage is not taught in schools. There is no part of the elementary school curriculum that "teaches" marriage. Good heavens, we can hardly teach math and never teach science any more with all the dumb literacy testing. Does anyone really think there will be time to "teach" gay marriage? Quit lying, people.

Point Two: I have worked with excellent gay and lesbian teachers (I can't believe I even have to state that, like that's a category of people who might be in danger of not being good teachers, but apparently I do). None of them have talked about their sexuality to the kids. Just like my heterosexual colleagues haven't. None of them have tried to "advance the gay agenda." None of them are scary. There has been no difference between them and any other teacher I've worked with... except that these particular people I'm thinking of were possibly more committed to the students, if anything.

Point Three: If Christians (and yes, I am one) are working so hard to protect the sanctity of marriage, why is divorce OK? Why is the candidate that the Christian right is going for someone who cheated on his first wife and is divorced? I'm not saying that my divorced friends are wrong. I'm just saying that if we're going to talk about the sanctity of marriage, well, don't be hypocritical please. Please.

And write to the Oakland City Council. (See below)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone who is going to vote yes on 8, let me at least respond to some of your comments (anonymously--I have no need to be lynched around here :)--and had you said this to me in person I would have had no problem saying it to you, I just don't want to be judged in a public forum by people who don't know me):

Point 1: You can argue that gay marriage won't be taught in schools, but families certainly are, and I think that's ok. But realize that people struggle with what they're going to tell their kids when they ask about homosexuality, especially when it is portrayed as totally normal. Adding marriage to that, instead of some other covenant, makes that discussion even more difficult. I believe that marriage is an act we make before God--and I would be ok with EVERYONE having some other state legislated ceremony/union, but as I've looked at scripture over and over I cannot say that I think homosexuality is ok. So it's quite challenging to think that something I view as sacred before God is going to be used in such a fashion.

I would also argue that homosexual groups do have an agenda, be it in the educational system or otherwise. Being homosexual has become THE identity that some use as who they are, not merely a component of it. So I think it's potentially delusional (that's too strong of a word, but I can't come up with what I want) to say that this is just an isolated law which will have no bearing on culture.

Point 2: None of your colleagues have, but I can state with certainty that others do let there sexual preference be fodder for conversation. Certainly not all do that. But there's a reason when some gay couples I know have looked at kindergartens they wanted to know how "out" people were at that school, and some responses I've heard were that at "so and so school there are 'x' # of known gay/lesbian teachers".

Point 3: These are two distinct issues, and if you asked me, I would say that both are important. Yes, it's a travesty that divorce is viewed so cavalierly, but that doesn't make something else ok. You can argue that the passion many in the church have about homosexuality is misplaced (and I would agree) and should be placed on repairing/improving marriages. Great. But I don't see why that should influence how one votes on Prop 8.

Jessamyn Harris said...

to the anonymous (chicken) poster: "I believe that marriage is an act we make before God"

I don't care what your interpretation of the Bible is - this is NOT, repeat NOT, a country that is governed by the church. So it doesn't matter what your opinion is about marriage in the eyes of your God. I got married (in a heterosexual relationship), I did it in SF City Hall, and "God" had absolutely nothing, zero to do with it. So, if you want to claim that marriages that aren't recognized or "ok'ed" by the church shouldn't be legal, you need to take on myself and a lot of other atheists who have non-regligious weddings (not to mention Muslims, Jews, Hindus...). Should all of our marriages become unlawful as well?

Homosexual groups do have an agenda - to be accepted for WHO THEY ARE and who they fall in love with and choose to make their families. That's truly it, and to say otherwise implies that you think that they are going to try to "convert" children... which is extremely naive, if not flat out stupid.

Being "out" as a gay or lesbian person at work has nothing to do with sex... it has to do with people you are around every day knowing that your partner (or partners, if you're not monogamous) in life and on dates might be of the same gender as yourself. I personally don't want to think about or imagine any of my friends, family, clients or colleagues having sex, with anyone, gay or straight. And I think that people who are "grossed out" or disapprove of "the gay lifestyle", are just pervs. Who goes around imagining their friends doing it?!

I 100% agree with the point about divorce. They are not two distinct issues - divorce has done FAR more damage to the modern state of relationships and marriage than a loving, caring couple who are both men or women could ever do. The rise of divorce has made it so that marriage always has some kind of easy out - an escape hatch for HALF of marriages. So, I think that it DOES make a loving, committed marriage between two couples of any gender perfect okay. To me, freedom for two people in love is the penultimate way to honor marriage. And it is way more offensive to me that John McCain cheated on his first wife and got a divorce, as well.

I think that if the government tried to legislate divorces, people would freak out (and rightly so). We don't discriminate against marriage between people who have just met (where would Vegas be if that were the case?) or have children out of wedlock... and many other things that I'm pretty sure the church doesn't approve of. Because it is NOT a church state. Marriage in California has NOTHING to do the Christianity unless the couple involved choose to make it so.

So I propose that your churches come up with some "super-extra-ultra-marriage" vow or document to differentiate Christian marriages from the rest of us heathens and our commitments - because if your narrow view of marriage is only seen through some scripture that has nothing to do with the California constitution, then you definitely out of luck already. You do realize that it's possible to get married in a church, and (if you don't sign the legal papers that say nothing about the lord), you are not married in the eyes of the state?

Plus, if you read lots of parts of the Bible, people marry multiple wives, and live to be hundreds of years old... To live a modern life by Biblical standards, even for most strict Christians, is laughable and unrealistic. I think the same sex question just comes down to, again, people being pervs and being able to only think about SEX, and not LOVE.

Phew.

Anonymous said...

Jessamyn,
You have every right to call me chicken--maybe I am. But I was nowhere near as harsh in my response as you were in yours; so perhaps that's why I didn't want to leave my name. You have every right to believe what you believe. If you aren't a Christian, I totally get why you think Christians who view homosexuality as wrong are nuts. (Then again, you probably view much of what I believe as nuts, so I wouldn't isolate it to this issue. :) :) :))

I'm responding again only b/c I was wrong to say that marriage is a covenant before God. That is how I view it, but I agree that it is not how it is sanctioned by the state. You were right about that. My point was more that I WISH that there was a state ceremony everyone did and that there was something else that the church did. I apologize for not being clear.

By the way, I don't ever think about colleagues, etc. having sex. Just not part of my personality, perhaps. So to imply that I'm obsessed with sex is an unfair characterization of me. Truth be told, if people weren't obsessed with declaring their sexual preferences in public (regardless of what they are), I think we'd be a much happier nation.

Last thing, and then I'm done: my brother-in-law, who got married to his (male) partner stated that they would have preferred there to be the third option I mentioned above: asking all to have a state sanctioned union and let churches do their own marriage. Let it be known that I'm very happy for them and wish that third option had existed.

I apologize if my views are offensive to you. I'm not asking you to agree with them. (Heck, many Christians don't agree with them; it's a debatable topic and NOT THE POINT OF CHRISTIANITY.) I only hope that discourse can be civil.

Anonymous said...

At the other anonymous poster (and I'm anonymous because I'm too lazy to register, not because I don't want people to know who I am -- this is Bronwyn's roommate):

OK, you seem to be contradicting yourself. You say that you WISH there was some way there could be a state-sanctioned same-sex marriage, and churches could do their own thing, yet you are voting in favor of Proposition 8, which would eliminate the option of state-sanctioned same-sex marriage?

I just don't get it. Sorry. This seems completely illogical to me.

There is this wonderful thing provided for by both our national and state constitutions. It's called the separation of church and state. Same-sex marriage sanctioned BY THE STATE in no way hinders me in the practice of my religion (which happens to be Christianity, by the way).

I would also like to add that under laws forbidding interracial marriage, my parents would not have been allowed to marry. Many of same arguments being used to support Proposition 8 were used not that long ago against interracial marriage. Please think about that for a moment.

Letseat said...

Can I add that:
1. Reholding an election over and over until you get the results you want is lame.
2. Since the title and agreement of "marriage" is one that is also used outside of the church, let's end all of this domestic partner rights and stipulations and just move forward knowing that everyone else's "marriage" might not look exactly like our own.
3. No pastor is forced to conduct a marriage ceremony he/she doesn't agree with.

Jessamyn Harris said...

I guess I just cannot even fathom the desire to keep two loving souls from being together and calling it "marriage". I mean, seriously... like my brain can't even process it. I feel like a 5 year old but just want to keep asking, "why?". When they say, "I just want to keep the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman", I want to say, "WHY?". (Not to mention, whose definition was that to begin with?) When they say, "I don't want them teaching our children about gay marriage" (a lie that the 8 campaign told, successfully, to win), "WHY?". "If it's okay for two men to marry each other, then I should be able to marry my horse" (obviously many many things wrong with that statement, but I've seen and heard it) - "WHY?".

Honestly... why? You think it's wrong? Why? You think marriage should only be for a straight couple? Why? You think that gay couples can have everything but marriage? Why?