Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bitter-Sweet Celebration

The husband and I couldn't be happier that Obama will be our next president. Early on election day morning we walked over to our local polling place and connected our arrows. We used to vote using touch-screen machines, but this time around, at a new place, we had the huge ballots - they were about 2 feet tall and made out of heavy-weight paper. Talk about old school.

California has a weird process where the citizens vote on a lot of stuff you would expect the state government to take care of. There are always a ton of measures and propositions (some that can even amend the constitution) on the ballot. This really annoys the husband. Makes you kind of wonder what the legislative body does all day.

This year we voted a definite YES on proposition 2, for the improvement of living conditions for farm animals. It passed with a pretty strong majority. It's a start for farm animal well-being.

We voted no on proposition 4, to not require parental notification before the termination of a minor's pregnancy. The husband and I both support abortion rights. I'm actually surprised this didn't pass (no notification will be required), but I expect it was the strong young voter turnout. There were actually quite a few measures and propositions around the country relating to limiting abortion rights and none of them passed. That's an even bigger surprise.

One of the bigger political disappointments I have experienced is the passage of proposition 8, amending the California constitution to ban gay marriage. Wow. How hateful and unjust. In banning gay marriage, California is basically telling gay people all over the world that they are second class citizens. Melissa Etheridge doesn't believe she should pay taxes as a second class citizen.

I can think of two reasons why the propositions passed. The first is because the "Yes on Proposition 8" campaign ads claimed that unless proposition 8 passed, all schools would be required to teach about same-sex marriage. That's BS. I learned about marriage in high school, but that's because I went to a private, Catholic HS. We never discussed marriage in K-8 grades, not even in sex-ed.

The second reason proposition 8 passed is because of the church influence. Fine, believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman because that's what God intended. It turns out that the Bible does have a few passages that mention homosexuality, but the big surprise is that Jesus said nothing about it. You would think that if it was such a big issue, that God would make sure Jesus did not forget to mention it. Huh, miscommunication? And same-sex marriage is not what's ruining the American family. Sumana counters this quite well:

"I say to those opponents of same-sex marriage: If you care about the stability and happiness of the American family, then work to subsidize daycare, lengthen paternal and maternal leave and move us to single-payer healthcare. If you care about the sanctity of marriage, then work to institute a federal waiting period and separate the civil contract of marriage from your religion's requirements and ceremonies. Widows, grandparents, uncles, nannies, foster children, step-parents and same-sex partners all contribute to and sustain households everywhere."

I love my husband. I know that even if we weren't married, I would still be happy on whatever other path in life I had chosen. But I can't believe that another path would be as fulfilling and as happy as the one we chose together. And now that we are a few months away from growing as a family, I can't imagine a greater joy we might experience. To deny a group of people this right to happiness is heartbreaking to me, to say the least.

Sorry about the rant. I feel a little guilty that maybe I didn't do enough to help stop the passage of proposition 8. I could have talked to more people or perhaps I could have had better answers to the religious arguments. Hopefully California's judicial system will recognize that it's unconstitutional to deny a minority group their right to happiness.

I know this post is over a week late but I had been working on it for a while. Just had a enough time to proofread and publish.


Lint said...

Don't lose heart, friends. Remember that "colored folks" had even fewer rights barely 60 years ago. A black president wasn't even a consideration by anybody. Now look - the hard work, heartache, and teachings of generations of compassionate and just people are paying off. Compassion and equality will win over fear and ignorance - just keep chipping away.

There will be one day when we won't laugh at the thought of a half-Middle Eastern lesbian president.

Cleaty said...

Good points and encouraging words. I would hope that now that we understand and are happy with progress, we would move towards equality a little faster. But I guess fear is powerful.

Jenny S. said...

Well said, Clau!

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