It’s Prop 8 again! (Vote No)

19 10 2008

It’s late here in Europe, no one is chatting to me online and Craigslist only offered up one message of a missed connection with a ‘redheaded goddess’ on the underground and sadly, it wasn’t about me. So I’m here again. And I just read my friend’s blog about Prop 8. We like to keep our sticky European fingers in the affairs of Californians! And if I do ever visit California, who’s taking me rollerblading whilst eating a raisin bagel and drinking fresh OJ??! 

Anyway, from there I found a random link to another blog about Proposition 8, I read it and read the comments. I also posted one back. And it gave me this thought regarding the concern of those who are worried that their religious-based, or religiously-sanctioned marriage will in some way be undermined or threatened or devalued if Proposition 8 is not over-turned. I add it here, and edit it a bit:

 

“Those who are joined in unity in the presence of their God, will still have that [ie that religious unity would still hold]. Same-sex marriage does not threaten the sanctity of religious-based marriages [ie people can still get married religiously]. Children who follow their parents’ choice of religion will still have that choice to get married in a religious setting, and their children too, if they so choose [because not all children want to be of the religion of their parents, we grow up and we can choose]. But religion is a belief system [ie a personal belief system, and not everyone is religious], and marriage can exist for all outside of it, and it should be allowed to all people should they choose that path. However, the point about marriage being instituted by God, does that mean that Christians, who do not believe in the same god as Muslims, would not recognise the marriage of two, heterosexual, Muslims? Because that Muslim marriage would not be instituted by their (Christian) God.

I put that last bit in bold because I think it’s quite a good point. So people of other religions, in opposite sex relationships would be accorded the same rights by law if they were married – even if a ‘different God’ sanctioned and institutionalised that marriage?? The concept that marriage is a ‘unity between a man and a woman’ is based in religion, and that should be kept out of citizens’ rights. I do acknowledge that religion has formed the backdrop to many of our current day morals, ie don’t kill, don’t steal, but these could also be seen to derive out of a process of civilization and advancement; it’s just that religions have framed them over time. Given also that religions have come and gone over the many years, and take many different forms and shapes across the world, but some principles are shared – ie, don’t steal or kill, then I would suggest that although, for example, English law is in part religion-based, much of the foundations could be seen to stem from outside of a religious framework. So state/law and religion can be kept separate, and marriage does not have to be, by definition, a unity between man and woman.





Proposition 8 – some more thoughts

18 10 2008

It’s heartening to see so much positive reaction to the ‘Vote No for Prop 8’ campaign around the internet; sites like Bamboo Nation and Culturepress and the various links you’ll see dotted around their websites, such as The Liberal OC, Powen’s and Beau Travail are all pushing ahead.

I’ve received a couple of comments ‘for Prop 8’ to my earlier post and I’m going to respond.

Firstly, I do suspect that part of at least one of those comments was copied and pasted from another website. The words sounded like I’d read them before, and it’s a shame that people aren’t taking the time to formulate their own opinions on this matter; to look seriously deep inside themselves to understand what their objections to same-sex marriage actually are.

Secondly, let’s consider marriage: the word ‘marriage’ and the belief held by some that marriage should be a union between a man and woman because:

“for some species the best way to accomplish this [survival] is by the father sticking around and helping the mother. Each gender of the species provides essentials of survival and thus a marriage is formed. Thus marriage can yield an evolutionary advantage.”

That statement is about child bearing, procreation not marriage. I really don’t think the human species will ‘stop survivng’ if same-sex marriages, or relationships, are in existence. The world’s population will NOT dry up. Additionally, it seems that the comment above suggests that only a father/mother relationship produces the best accomplishment of child rearing. What about the thousands of young children who throughout the first and second world wars, even wars that go on today, are raised without present fathers, and even in some cases mothers? These children have been raised extremely well. What about my friend who lost a father very early on in life and was raised by her mother alone? She has gone on to be a respectable member of society, productive and well-balanced. Not only that but a male or female influence, if that is what some people really believe to be necessary for child rearing, can be obtained from other family members – aunts, uncles, grandparents. Even close friends of the family can provide stable and committed support to children from one parent, or same-sex parent families.
I think also a point has been confused between ‘marriages existing to ensure the survival of the species’ and well, ‘sex’ existing to ensure the survival of the species. Ok, same sex couples can’t physically have children, but they can foster, adopt, have surrogates, donors and raise a child in a loving, happy, safe environment. Furthermore, the length of time this takes to arrange probably means that most gay couples create a new family with much more foresight and consideration than a quick fumble round the back of the bar – leading to a ‘shot gun wedding’ where the couple doesn’t love each other and the child is unplanned. I’ve been talking generally about marriage and child rearing here, but I hope by discussing hetero couples and child rearing we can see that marriage by it’s classical (religious based) definition is by no means perfect. The human species WILL survive even if, say, 1% of the world’s LGBT population do not have children. But they might be willing to adopt or foster a child and raise them well.

I also don’t like the statement that:

“As languages evolved, English was born. The word marriage was used to define such relationships between one man and one woman. Surely, other relationships exist, many of which are full of love, but these would not be called marriage. Marriage has always described the coming together of a man and a woman to unite in love and initiate the bearing of children.”

This is very ethnocentric. English only? I think people are splitting hairs over the definition of ‘marriage’. I’m glad to see that the commenter has included that ‘other relationships exist, many of which are full of love’ – that’s encouraging. That would include same-sex relationships too, right? But if that same-sex couple were to be joined, in marriage, that can’t be marriage. Ok, well I’m not sure about the correct definition of the word ‘marriage’, but I will say that language is power, language is constructed and can be used by those who want positions of power to subordinate others. Language changes and adapts over time, so adapt the word marriage and don’t limit it to man-woman only.

The next point:
“Marriage is the gateway of the family.”

I think I’ve already covered the suggestion that some marriages can lose half of that partnership and still generate a stable, productive, happy family environment.
But what about marriages where no children are produced? What if one partner is sterile? What if they don’t want children? Marriage and family do not define each other.

I can see why people think marriage was ‘designed’, say, to include man-woman=children, as it were. Trace these ideas back and the creation of marriage probably was to regulate the population, to stop everyone bonking whomever they wanted, when they wanted. It was about control, and control, again, comes from those who want power. I can see how one commenter wanted to stick to biological reasons for being against same-sex marriage, but I don’t think the biology argument holds up. Because biologically I could go out and have sex with a male stranger and preserve the human species AND raise that child all by myself, but I wouldn’t be married. Inherent in this biology argument is religion. My personal take on religion does come in here; as I said before, visit any history museum and you will see how religions have come and gone over time, changed and manipulated for the benefit of those in power. Henry the Eight? Split from the Catholic church so he could get married, again and again and again…
It’s heartening to see that some religious people are going for the ‘No Vote’, and I’m not here to put down anyone’s choice in being religious, it’s just what the more intolerant religious choose to do with their religion which bothers me.

The second comment I received revolved around teaching awareness of same-sex marriages in school. Sorry, but I didn’t mention teaching once in my earlier post, and it’s clear you just copied and pasted this argument. I can’t really address this because I’m not from the US and don’t have much of an idea of state laws and the like. I can only insert my own personal opinion here: don’t be scared about your children learning about same-sex relationships. Let your child make up their own mind. Don’t demonise same-sex couples, phobia comes from a lack of understanding. If your children don’t learn about same-sex couples being equal to hetero couples, they are likely to grow up phobic, scared and intolerant of others. What will people do, hide their children away until they are 18, or 21, so they have NO awareness of the mixed society in which we live? If you want to live in a closed-off, insular community then do so, you’ll never ever be touched by anyone who isn’t like you and you needn’t worry about whether or not Adam and Steve in the next town got married – so let them get on with it. Remember, people were once taught that blacks, indians, asians, jews were ‘different’, and probably in that, that marrying one of them would be ‘wrong’. But no one is now fighting for a return to a ban on inter-racial marriages. Society has progressed, and we should keep doing so.

Finally, great – thanks for agreeing that same-sex couples should have the same rights as hetero couples. That is encouraging. So many same-sex couples have difficulty acquiring their late partner’s estate, or getting help for medical fees, legal issues which are relatively simple for hetero couples but a mine-field for same-sex ones. However, regarding the point that religious ministers could be forced to provide same-sex marriages which goes against their beliefs: I’m not sure about this one. A simple ‘not here thanks, but try the church down the road’? Or maybe a lot of same-sex couples wouldn’t want to be part of a church which discriminates against them anyway? Also, I have heard of so, so many straight couples who attend church for the requiste 6 months preceeding their wedding just so they can have the big, white, church wedding; but then never turn up again until they’ve popped their clogs. Now that is hypocritical, of the couple and the church! And the church receives a nice big fee.

Finally, the comment:
“Supporters of no say “give non religious reasons” These are all non religious reasons of why I am a supporter to protecting traditional marriage.”
Actually, you did spend half of your message writing about religious leaders and weddings. So, I’m sorry but you kind of shot yourself in the foot there.

I hope that readers who stumble here can I see that I am willing to engage in open and respectful debate. And for those of you whose blogs I linked to, hope you don’t mind, I’m just trying to leave a trail of positive links for people to follow.

 

 

Vote NO!

Vote NO!