Thursday, October 30, 2008

No on Prop 8

If you don't know already, there's a ballot initiative in California, to be voted on this Tuesday, November 4, that would amend the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Here's the text:


Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.

I've written about this issue several times before. For anyone who wants more background, here are a few links: "Cynical or Clinical?," "Those Crazy Conservative Activists Again," "Homosexual Acts are Immoral?," "Activist Courts...?," and "Gay Marriage, Flag Burning, and Congress Again."

What's fascinating about opposition to gay-marriage is how unprincipled it is. I've heard every argument against preventing gays from marrying, and none of them, not even the ones based on the bible, holds up to logical scrutiny. Opposition to gay marriage is based on fear and ignorance, precisely the same kind of fear and ignorance that once led people to oppose interracial marriage -- indeed, the same kind of fear and ignorance that once led people to oppose integration generally.

If you oppose gay marriage, try to imagine that as strongly as you feel, that's just how strongly backers of Jim Crow felt in the 1950's and 1960's. Segregationists, who are now recognized as the racists they were, felt just as strongly about blacks marrying whites as you feel about two men or two women marrying each other. They had their arguments, as you have yours. And yet, looking back, we know they were wrong. When people look back at supporters of Prop 8, they'll recognize that Prop 8 supporters were wrong, too.

Here are some examples of the arguments and tactics put forth by pro-Prop 8 forces:

Eventually, gays will win the right to marry, just as blacks won the right to sit anywhere they wanted on a bus. Marriage equality will be both a consequence and a cause of society's increasing acceptance that homosexuality is exactly as abnormal, evil, destructive, wrong, and immoral as left-handedness. It's just a question of how long it'll take, and how much pain will be suffered in the meantime by gays who want nothing other than to share the basic human right to make a lifelong, legally recognized, publicly sanctioned, monogamous commitment to the person they love.

Here's something else to imagine: how you would feel if society denied you this basic right? Or if society told you you could have a few parts of it, but that you couldn't call it a marriage, because that word is special and reserved for people who are different from you?

A generation from now, your children or grandchildren will ask you how you voted on the current initiative to exclude gays from this fundamental right. You have a chance today to tell them you voted against it -- that you voted against fear and ignorance and discrimination and hate.

A handful of votes is going to make the difference on this one. Be one of those votes. And don't just make the right decision to vote "No" on Prop 8. Call a friend. Talk to a family member. Help them make the right decision, too. And, if you want to feel especially good about being on the right side of history, donate to the No on Prop 8 campaign. You don't need to live in California to donate (the Mormon Church has given about $20 million to pro-Prop 8 forces) and there are no limits on how much you can give. I've donated twice already, and just donated my next Tokyo speaking fee, as well. Why not do the same? You'll be proud you did, and your children and grandchildren will be proud of you, too.


Fran said...

Thank you, Barry. My partner/wife and I don't live in California, but we made the trip from Seattle not only to help prove that there can be fiscal benefits to allowing us to marry, nor solely in support of the concept, but because we wanted that bond between us.

It changes nothing between us, really, but it changes everything in that now we have legal recognition (in California anyway, and at least for now) of the seriousness and depth of our commitment to each other.

I have no idea what our reaction will be if Prop 8 passes, but I know we'll be overjoyed if/when it's defeated.

And if it passes, we're curious as to how that will affect those of us who did get married while it was legal, since it is my understanding that the wording of Prop 8 doesn't nullify those marriage that have occurred, but will simply stop any more from happening.

In any case, thank you again for your erudite and powerful support.

Sean Wright said...

Bravo Barry.

It appears that they Vote No om Prop 8 site has been the target of an organised and sustained DOS attack.

Not only are some bigots loud and unchristian, they are criminal as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Barry.

I'm a big fan of your books because I love the Japan content and the nuanced (by fast-paced thriller standards, of course) political content. I'm also in a same-sex relationship of many years. Your grandchildren will indeed be proud of you, and I'm grateful right now.

Cheers, B

Anonymous said...

Amen, Barry. This has become my big issue -- mostly because the other side's argument can be perceived as nothing less than discriminatory, elitist and (as usual) lagging behind history's moral curve. And, in fact, the vehemence and venom of the anti-gay-marriage forces have driven me from a more neutral position (civil unions, etc.) to one asking for totally equal human dignity. Why is it that my pro-capital punishment friends always ask, "What if your son or daughter was murdered?" But they never ask themselves, "What if my son or daughter was gay?"

Anonymous said...

Yeah, i think you have a good point Barry. For me, though, its not really a big issue. Just because i don't know any homosexuals that want to marry. I don't know any period, as far as i know. I think its an issue that Republicans use to fire up their supporters. From what i've heard this amendment has a fairly good chance of passing.

Tia Hu said...

As a California citizen who voted by absentee ballot, I already voted NO on Proposition 8. I've spoken up about this issue to many people, and continue to do so. This is a matter of basic human rights and basic civil rights for same-sex couples.

While we have freedom of religion in the U.S.; we can't allow any religions or prejudice to determine the definitions of basic civil rights for anyone, or any minority group, in this country.

And if we examine history even further back; the same ignorant and prejudicial rhetoric was used to even try to prevent women from getting the right to vote, and for many other issues of discrimination.

It is amazing just how narrow and consistent ignorance and prejudice really can be. That rhetoric always consisting of fear tactics about imagined threats to children, the destruction of the cohesiveness of the family unit, a supposed breakdown of social order, and as being against our basic national and human moral values.

Prejudice and hate are entirely predictable, completely unsupportable by impartial evidence; yet so very difficult to overcome. Why? Because of the very fact that it is based on blind faith in fear based traditions of supposed obedience to God; rather than the logic and reason of knowledge, or the enlightenment of universal love and tolerance for diversity.

There actually are a few passages in the Bible that can be interpreted to support these discriminations against gay people. I can get them and quote them for you if you want. But I always ask, even as ordained Universalist clergy myself; when are people going to wake up, realize, and accept that the Bible was written by men, not by God? The Bible is not infallible, just as none of the men who wrote it were perfect. There are good principles taught in some places in the Bible, and one can usually find those same principles in most religions and sacred texts. But these worthy spiritual principles are also cradled in the midst of much in the way of ancient cultural biases, outmoded standards, and even superstitions of the people who wrote these more ancient texts. The expressed cultural biases do nothing to help the advancement and spiritual evolution of people for this time frame and in the world as it is now.

There is a good reason that universal love is usually placed above all else in spirituality and in sacred texts from around the world. Universal love is the only force in spirituality which can overcome the cultural ignorances, prejudices, traditions, and limitations that cause far more degradation than do anything to uplift and inspire the human spirit to greater personal growth and interactions. Universal love, hope, and faith are the foundation of true enlightenment of the spirit. Logic, reason, and science are the foundation of true enlightenment of the mind. And in my world view and way of living, these forces of enlightenment of spirit and mind work very well together as a dynamic, integrated framework for personal growth, for the greater good in humanity, and in living with respect for the ecological health and wellbeing of all life on Earth.

I firmly support the separation of religion and state; precisely because again, we can not allow any religions to define and determine the basic human and basic civil rights of people. If we do allow any particular religion to enter into the processes of state; then we are allowing the biases of those beliefs to cause unnecessary and destructive conflicts of interest with other religions and beliefs, and also to erode any possibility of true rule of law, justice, and equal opportunities for all people in our nation.

Ok folks, that is the one and only time I will get on a spiritual soap box with you about anything. I know that is obviously not the primary purpose of these blogs. But the prejudices against same-sex couples, and this hateful Proposition 8 in California to deny them the basic civil right to marry; are all based in the more ignorant of religious beliefs and practices. And as I wrote about above; these themes of discrimination on various issues use the same biased religion based rhetoric over and over again.

I would proudly officiate at the marriage ceremonies of same-sex, bi-sexual, or transgendered couples any day. As long as they are loving, responsible, committed people; I can not think of one reason why they should not be legally married with all the same rights, benefits, and respect afforded to heterosexual couples.

And because I spoke as clergy; I should also tell you that my legal name is Rev. Kay J. Ahl. Tia Hu is my fiction writer and artist pseudonym. Most people know me by both names anyway. So this isn't some great revelation of hidden knowledge, lol. And just for the record, no, I don't shepherd a church. I'm more the researcher, writer, artist, and advocator type.



or Kay, I answer to either name.

KSR said...

Well done.

[standing and applauding]

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Well said Barry. If we are a nation that truly believe in equality for all citizens, then government has no business in the personal lives of others. I confess my view on this matter has evolved from a year ago and I feel better for realizing that "marriage" is a personal choice that is no concern of the governments. I think all of your points reaffirm my "No" vote on Proposition 8.

Anonymous said...

I almost feel as if I am going to be attacked for posting this on here, but being more Conservative-minded than not, I feel I must put in my penny's worth. :-)
I have never opposed gay unions, and I fully believe that if people want to make a commitment to each other then they should have the right to, and to the benefits that come along with said union (tax breaks, shared health ins, ect).

My problem is with the word 'marriage'. 'Marriage' should be a word reserved for the joining of a man and a woman. Wiccans commonly use 'hand-fasting', and other cultures use their own ceremonies and terms. Why should a tradition dating back thousands of years change just to accomodate a group? What's wrong with starting their own commitment ceremony with it's own term/name, as long as it is recognized as a legal union and shares the benefits thereof?

For example, what if Christians suddenly decided they wanted a festival of lights and all the benefits that came with it, such as the Hindus have in Diwali. Big exception, though. Christians want to be allowed to eat hamburgers at their Diwali. (Please remember, this is only an example, I am just trying to make a point.) Should the Hindus be forced to let the Christians celebrate their Diwali, even though there is a big part of it that would be against their religion and core beliefs? (no eating beef) I don't think so. The Christians should enjoy the benefits of such a holiday (time off work, big celebrations, bank holidays, ect) but should have their own version and name for this holiday.

As strange as it may sound, I have even thought of expanding on it a bit to enclude a kind of household unit-commitment idea. Why can't people form a friendship, sisterhood, brotherhood, or whatever pact if they want to so that the benefits of a commitment to another person be shared? My thought came from two widows living together, neither disiring to ever marry again. If they wanted to form some kind of friendship/household pact together, why shouldn't they get to share the healthcare benefits of the other or any other benefits of a legal union? There is nothing sexual or intimate about this kind of relationship, just a friendship bond and a desire to share a life with another person.

What does this issue really boil down to? Are gay people wanting to be acknowledged as a legal, commited couple and to enjoy the legal rights of such a relationship, or is it because they want it to be included under a long-standing Christian name of this kind of relationship?

KSR said...

Equal rights.

You can't discriminate.

If a man and a woman can marry, so can a woman and woman. Otherwise, you are saying the law only applies to some people.

Some day, the Supreme Court will decide this, and this issue will melt away, much like Barry predicts.

Dougist said...

>" Opposition to gay marriage is based on fear and ignorance,"

Yep. Like ignorance of this little piece of wrting:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal..."

When are we going to realize that that really was some fine work those guys did back in the 18th centuary.

Fran said...

For a look at how an 82-year-old Texas woman looks at this, check out this blog:

I so enjoy Helen Philpot's view on things.

Criede, I appreciate what you're saying, and I drafted a proposal years ago that said that any couple, regardless of gender, wanting government benefits, both Federal and State, had to have a civil union.

If they wanted a "marriage", that could be performed by a religious person, but that relationship would in no way be recognized by the government.

Two separate ceremonies, one secular, one religious. Depending on what you want, you can have one, the other, or both.

But I know several religious leaders who have no problem performing marriages for those of us who are gay regardless of legal ramifications.

And Criede, as long as you have one set of rules for one group of people and another set of rules for a minority, it's still discrimination.

PBI said...


The idea that the tradition of marriage has been immutable for thousands of years is unsupported by historical fact, and ignores things like polygamy, which was widespread in times gone by.

Personally, I agree with Fran, and have written to that effect in the past. "Marriage" should be solely a term of religious significance, and without legal weight. Everybody should get a civil union that is recognized by the state, and if they belong to a religious organization, they can get married as well. Doing so, however, should confer zero additional benefit to them as regards the law.

In any event, letting other people get married has no demonstrable effect whatsoever on anybody else's marriage, and I think that's the main point of why California Prop 8 is so wrong-headed.

Sensen No Sen

Tia Hu said...

By what some here and elsewwhere say, then you are assuming that the word marriage, and those unions between two people in marriage, can only be defined by specific religious beliefs.

Why? There isn't any logical reason to assume that only religions can define who can and can not get married.

Even to very ancient times, marriage was a social arrangement that was not necessarily defined by religious beliefs in many cultures. And marriage itself has had many different configurations in terms of who and even how many people could be included. For instance, polygamy was just as popular and even more popular than one couple marriages in quite a few cultures. This idea of marriage being a union of one man and one woman as the primary definition of marriage for thousands of years is just not even historically correct. And that kind of claim only points to how little quite a few people even know about cultural histories in this country and in this world.

To demand that same-sex couples have only 'civil unions', even with benefits; is still a denial of their basic civil rights for equality under U.S. and states' law to get married.

This isn't even about being politically conservative. You are using the beliefs and practices of specific modern religions and those biases as your motive to demand that same-sex couples be restricted to civil unions.

That can not be the motive for recognizing and upholding the equal rights and liberties of all people under the law. To do so, is to usurp the rule of law, and to install in its place, a government of theocracy, in this case a Christian theocratic rule.

We have separation of religion and state precisely to protect the civil rights and liberties of all people, including the right to freedom of religion. If we submit to the governance by theocracy of Christians, who are the people primarily behind this restriction to civil unions for same-sex couples; then we have ceased to even be the United States of America with liberty, justice, and freedom for all. We then become the second coming of Holy Roman Catholic Empire, only just with more Christian denominations on board at first. Once that happens, how long do you think it will be before even Christians find themselves being told what and what not to believe and practice, and their denominations disappearing for a One Church Theocracy? And that of course will all be done for the 'greater good' and in supposed obedience to God as well.

Do any of you who are Christians want other Christians, whose denominations may believe differently than your own, telling you what to and not to believe and practice in your lives?

Do not underestimate the power of denying anyone equal civil rights and liberties under U.S. and states' laws. To do so is to undermine the foundation of what it makes it possible for you to have the freedoms you have as well, in choosing what Christian denominations you belong to, and also for other people who believe in other religions and spiritual practices.

Same-sex couples who are responsible, law abiding people can not be denied equal civil rights by anyone, including the right to marry; without accepting that your own civil rights also be re-written or revoked to please the beliefs and biases of other special interest groups who may not particularly agree with you and how you believe and choose to live.

So any of you who believe that same-sex couples should be restricted to 'civil unions' instead of having full civil rights to be 'married'; please do step forward and declare now which of your own basic human rights, and civil rights and liberties, you are willing to give up in return...just so you can 'own' the definition of marriage for other people who believe and live a little differently than you.


Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka; Tia Hu

Tia Hu said...

Let me clear a couple of things up here for you guys.

When a legally licensed and officiating minister of a wedding/marriage ceremony signs a legal Certificate of Marriage for a couple; it is not a religious document. A Certificate of Marriage is the 'civil legal document' which is then that couple's legal proof of marriage under civil law.

Also, a handfasting ceremony, for Wiccans, is not necessarily the same thing as getting married. Handfasting has its origins in European Paganism. Pagan is just the term used for the country people and folk religions of Europe down through that last several thousand years. The word Pagan is usually attributed to the Latin words “paganus” (singular) or “pagani” (plural), meaning people who lived in a rural area or who did not accept the Roman pantheon of gods. Later it was used to describe people who did not accept Christian beliefs and practices, or included folk religion practices in conjunction with Christianity.

Handfasting was originally a betrothal ceremony, or also known as a trial marriage of a year and a day. If after this trial year period of living together the couple decided they did not want a permanent legal marriage and ceremony; they could just part without further need to dissolve the marriage legally. If they did choose to be married after this year period of time; then they were legally married according to the laws of that time and in their culture. And that legal marriage could only be dissolved in accordance with whatever the laws of divorce were for that particular culture.

Modern Handfasting ceremonies can be either this trial marriage/betrothal arrangement for a year and a day, or a handfasting ceremony can be used to celebrate a permanent marriage union as well. In the first case, a legal Certificate of Marriage is not signed. In the second case, that legal Certificate of Marriage is signed.

A legal Certificate of Marriage is signed by the bride, the groom, and the officiating licensed judge or other legally approved civil official, (even ship Captains can marry people), licensed minister/rabbi/priest/priestess/or other legally licensed clergy or official, and in many states also by 2 witnesses.

Marriage is a legal term, and always has been.

Marriage is not a religious term, or defined legally by religious beliefs.

If various religions want their followers to live up to certain arrangements and standards within their marriages; then they can determine what those standards may be. But it is not the jurisdiction of the Christian churches, or any other religions, to determine whether or not a couple may be legally married with a legally signed Certificate of Marriage. A minister may by his/her own conscience refuse to marry any couple. A minister is not in any way legally bound to officiate or sign a legal Certificate of Marriage for anyone. But that minister can not legally tell even another minister within his own church to not officiate at a marriage for that couple he or she may have refused. All the ministers in any given church may agree to a specific set of standards and arrangements for the marriages of couples in their congregations. And those standards may be adopted by whatever their churches arrangements for such ratifications may be. Should a specific minister, or specific members of that church choose to vary from those agreed standards; the church may ex-communicate them from the church, though may not take any civil legal action against them for leaving the beliefs and practices of that church. This protects both the religious conscience of the individuals and churches, or other religions, involved, and the civil rights of all involved. There are at least some variations on these laws from state to state, with the same overal theme.

A licensed judge at a courthouse may refuse to marry a couple based only on legal civil or criminal reasons. An example of a civil reason for refusal would be that the one or both members of the couple are under legal age for marriage in that state. An example of a criminal reason for refusal would be that one or both members of the couple have outstanding criminal arrest warrants on them. There are other civil and criminal reasons as well; but those are just two examples.

Also, same sex couples having the legal right to marry does not in any way effect the legal standing or 501c3 not-for-profit certification of any Church or other organization which does not officiate for same-sex marriages. That is a bogus argument circulating that is completely untrue.

To deny same-sex couples the right to get legally married, and sign that legal Certificate of Marriage under civil law, is indeed a denial of their basic civil rights and liberties in our states, and in the U.S. as a whole.


Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka: Tia Hu

Tia Hu said...

501c3 Not-for-profit/Non-profit certification status is a legally recognized state and federal tax classification, with certain tax exemptions included, for religious churches and temples, and other qualifying non-profit organizations.

What can affect the 501c3 not-for-profit/non-profit status of a church, or other organization, is to get involved as an organization in civil political affairs.

Non-profit churches or other organizations with a 501c3 certification can not, as an official statement of the organization, endorse political candidates, can not endorse already elected political officials on civil or other legal matters, can not make financial or other contributions of support to political candidates or elected officials, can not officially support any civil initiatives, law proposals or measures, or make financial or other contributions of support to advertise for those efforts.

Any churches or other 501c3 certified organizations which have made official statements or donated funds or other resources either for or against Proposition 8 on the California voters ballot for November 4th; are indeed in violation of the legal parameters and activities of their 501c3 status. This includes 501c3 certified churches or organizations both within the state of California, or those who may have contributed for or against CA Proposition 8 from other states.

Individual members of those 501c3 churches or other 501c3 organizations may not in any way act as official representatives of those churches or organizations for legal political candidates, elected officials, or political issues.

Individual members of those 501c3 churches or other 501c3 organizations may as individual legal U.S. citizens, and legal residents of any particular state, legally participate as they choose in supporting whatever legal political candidates, civil issues, initiatives, law proposals, or measures. They just can't do this in any official capacity for their church or other 501c3 certified non-profit organization.

Those 501c3 certified churches and other organizations, or members, who do violate these laws can lose their legal 501c3 certification for the church or other organization as a whole.

Some people would like to see these laws changed to allow 501c3 status churches, temples, and other non-profit organizations to participate officially in political affairs. I'm very much against this change in these laws; because I think this would be a very dangerous step toward the elimination of separation of church/religion and state.


Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka: Tia Hu

Tia Hu said...

Here is more information about the history, laws, and legal procedures and variations for obtaining marriage licenses and certificates of marriage in the U.S.

Please note that in the last paragraph on that page it states:
"In the early part of the twentieth century, the requirement for a marriage license was used as a mechanism to prohibit whites from marrying blacks, mulattos, Japanese, Chinese, Native Americans, Mongolians, Malays or Filipinos.[3] By the 1920s 38 states used the mechanism. These laws have since been declared invalid by the Courts."

With that in mind, please understand that this same type of discrimination is still used to prevent same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses in many states in the U.S. California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are the only states in the U.S. to legally recognize same-sex marriage licensing and certification.

Same-sex couples are NOT a 'special interest group' seeking 'special privilege entitlement' to get legally licensed and certified to be married under civil law.

Same-sex couples are a demographic minority population in the U.S. against whom the legal civil rights and liberties afforded to the many have been denied to them. Same sex-couples are seeking legal correction from being 'excluded' from the civil rights and liberties of licensed and certified legal marriage in the U.S.

They are not seeking special treatment. Same sex couples just want to be treated with the same equality as every other responsible and law abiding adult U.S. citizen under state and U.S. civil laws.

Oh, and in both handfasting/trial marriage of a year and a day ceremonies, and permanent wedding/marriage ceremonies, there are a lot of variations. Often in modern times, the couple even writes their own vows, and determines many of the other elements of the entire ceremony. I meant to mention that in my earlier posting on that subject.

Ok, I'm done, lol. I don't mean to wear anyone out on the subject. Just trying to help people understand the actual histories, legalities, and reasons why it is important to grant the civil rights of legally licensed and certified marriage to same-sex couples, and also the need for separation of church/religion and state is this and other civil law matters.


Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka: Tia Hu

Barry Eisler said...

Al, moderating the comments from my iPhone, I inadvertently rejected yours. My apologies; here it is, cut and pasted in its entirety:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No on Prop 8":

It saddens me that we are here in 2008 still discussing if gay people should have the same rights as other people. In California we will be voting on Prop 8, which would overturn the right of gay people to get married. This kind of proposition should, in this millennium, not even be discussed. Everybody should have the right to marry whoever they want. We should not discriminate against any race, religion, or sexual orientation. By doing so, we have proven that there is no equality under the law in California - for anyone.


Anonymous said...

Hi Barry - I couldn't agree more. I just attended the wedding of one of my good friends...and it was wonderful to see him marry his partner of several years. He wrote an article for Newsweek about it, and why they chose to get married before Prop 8 is voted on tomorrow.
I live in San Diego, where the largest Yes on 8 rally was held. I can't believe the hate that is being spread by so-called Christians. The good news is that in the high school where I teach, most of the kids are disgusted that this is even an issue. Many of them have been coming by my room to pick up No on 8 stuff, and attendance at our Gay Straight Alliance (I'm the advisor) has risen greatly.
Let's hope the voters of California are smart enough to let people love who they want to love.

Tia Hu said...


I know your comment was to Barry. I just want to applaud you for hanging in there as a teacher in our California school system, especially if you are in a CA public school. That is truly heroic on your part, considering the problems our public schools are facing with funding shortages, social challenges, etc. Literally all my friends who are teachers here in CA public schools end up buying supplies for their classes, and even funding field trips, out of their own incomes.

Also, thank you for being an enlightened soul, and an advisor for the Gay Straight Alliance at the school where you teach.

That is great about the kids and their attitudes, understanding, and support for our gay population. Among my granddaughter's friends here in Napa, that is far and away their attitude as well.

A certain segment of Christians have just been misinformed by leftover interpretations and attitudes of bigotry, and refuse to make any adjustments to their own knowledge and beliefs. If nothing else one would think they could see that what they are doing is the opposite of the love that was taught by Christ.

I'm happy to say I know, and know of, quite a few Christians here in the San Francisco Bay Area who are against Proposition 8 and consider their GLBT friends to be a very normal part of their own social circles. So there is hope.

Bravo to you for being a good influence and source of better knowledge for our CA kids in San Diego!

It is going to be very interesting day tomorrow, and to see what we all wake up to this Wednesday morning.

Thank you!

Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka: Tia Hu

PBI said...

The Mormon Church is not pleased by the fact that it has been noticed funneling something like $20 million to the Proposition 8 campaign. They're probably even less pleased about this, which is one of the more effective ads I've seen depicting the intrusion of one set of religious beliefs on the lives of other people. I'm kind of surprised that no one has done something like it before - at least that I've seen. It's a strong piece...

Sensen No Sen

Tia Hu said...

Greetings Barry and All,

Well, the final vote is in and Proposition 8 passed in California with a 52% Yes, to the 48% No votes.

And what also disturbs me is that Arizona and Florida both voted in pre-emptive propositions to prevent the marriages of same-sex couples, and Arkansas passed a measure to keep same-sex couples from even adopting children.

It is such a contradiction to me. Barack Obama was elected, much to my genuine joy, and as a very good man and our first African American President. Even Florida gave its Electoral votes to Obama, which truely stunned me.

And this all happned in the same country that is still so lacking in understanding and in support of genuine full civil rights for same-sex couples, and our GLBT population in general.

Well, I'll be supporting all the appeals, and will never give up on reaching the goal of these full civil rights for our family members, friends, and citizens in this country who are responsible law abiding people, who just happen to have a different sexual orientation or gender identity.

With Barack Obama now as our President Elect; to me that is hope for all minority populations to gain opportunity for greater access to full equality in our country.

Even in the midst of this terrible disappointment with Proposition 8; I feel a sense of genuine hope for our country with the election of Barack Obama that I haven't felt since I was a kid in the 1960s.

Somehow I think that up 'over that hill'; Abraham, John, Martin, and Bobby are all smiling right now with our new President Elect.

A lot of difficulties and hard work ahead. But at least we now have an intelligent, thoughtful, well educated, visionary, and diplomatic President to be inaugurated in January 2009.

We will win the day with our GLBT friends too! Just listen to our older kids. Most of them truly do know and 'get it', and they are going to help us make 'the difference' sooner, rather than later.


Rev. Kay J. Ahl
aka: Tia Hu

Anonymous said...

Marriage is where the civil and the religious combine. The Yes on 8 people merely want a separation of religious and civil. If two same sex individuals want a civil union, with all of the same rights as a marriage, they can get that today. To suggest that it is somehow about rights and morally equivalent to the racial struggle for human rights, demonstrates that you are ill-informed or disingenuous.

If the definition of marriage were to include same-sex couples, teachers would be forced to teach this to children who needn't be exposed to this at a young age. Churches would be forced to marry same-sex couples against their religious beliefs.

The left seems to scream for separation of church and state (which is not part of our founding documents, but merely mentioned in Jefferson's letters) when it suits their needs. But to suggest that religious marriage be separate form civil unions is somehow evil? What rights do same-sex couple lose with 8? NONE. It isn't about "rights". You don't have a "right" to marry.

If same-sex couples were allowed to marry, what would stop the exact same argument to be used to justify polygamy? How about marriage with under-aged children? Where do you draw the line?

I am pro-gay. I have many gay friends. I am NOT religious, but I do believe that religion should not be modified by the state. What is wrong with civil unions?

Barry Eisler said...

Anonymous, civil marriage equality has no bearing on religious practices. If the 14th Amendment means anything, it should require that the state recognize same-sex marriages as it recognizes heterosexual marriages. Such a requirement would include the word "marriage," which is used both by the state and by religions (if the word isn't important, why try to reserve it for heterosexual unions?). But the state's recognition of same-sex marriage would have no effect on what kinds of marriages religions might recognize or perform. In other words, state-recognized same-sex marriages could be rejected by religions, and religions could refuse to perform such marriages. I know of no advocate of civil marriage equality who has even suggested otherwise, but if I'm missing some evidence here, please provide me some cites to back up your claims.

So while in general I agree with your assertion that "religion should not be modified by the state," I would also suggest that the state should not be modified by religion. For example, the fact that the Mormon church does not perform or recognize same-sex marriage should have no bearing on the state's adherence to the 14th Amendment. How else can you interpret the Mormon church's $20 million bankrolling of Prop 8 other than as a religion's attempt to modify the state? Calling such a situation "the state trying to modify religion" strikes me as precisely backward. The Yes on 8 people do not "merely want a separation of religious and civil." They don't want such a separation at all, and are trying to achieve the opposite. If you really do believe in the principle of keeping religion and state separate, it follows that you'll support state marriage equality.

In other words, marriage equality advocates are certainly not "suggest[ing] that religious marriage be separate form civil unions is somehow evil." We are in fact suggesting the contrary: that keeping these categories separate is good, and that it is wrong to allow religious preferences to dictate civil life.

You say, "What rights do same-sex couple lose with 8? NONE. It isn't about 'rights'. You don't have a 'right' to marry." But I do have a right to marry, and have a state marriage certificate to prove it. This is precisely the right that Prop 8 has just denied California's gays. This seems pretty obvious, so I'm not sure I understand your questions and points here.

You say, "teachers would be forced to teach this to children who needn't be exposed to this at a young age." What do you mean, "forced?" Gay marriage would become a mandated part of the elementary school curriculum? What do you mean, "this?" That homosexuality exists? That the state should allow gays who love each other to marry, as it allows heterosexuals? My daughter has known since she was seven that a minority of the population is attracted to people of the same sex, and that some of these people, if they're fortunate, can marry the person they love. She seems remarkably undamaged by this devastating knowledge. Perhaps she's unusually resilient. Perhaps, though, you are being unreasonably fearful.

As for your suggestion that gay marriage is indistinguishable from an adult marrying a child (marriage to an animal is another such faux question that comes up in Internet discussions on the topic), if you really can't see the difference here, I doubt anything I might say could convince you. Polygamy is another canard I've dealt with to the point of boredom. See some of the links in my original post.

Now tell me, anonymous: do your apparent misunderstandings on this topic "demonstrate that you are ill-informed or disingenuous?" If not, and there's some other explanation for your stance, perhaps you might do me the courtesy of extending that explanation to me, as well?