Nov 4, 2008

[Gay Rights] Vote NO to Proposition 8

The stakes in CaliforniaImage by bobster1985 via FlickrTomorrow is November 4, 2008 in the US, also known as Election Day. While it is the day the Obama-McCain contest will finally be decided and a new US President will be declared, it's also a very important day for gays and lesbians across America and even around the world. Let's face it, despite the current economic woes, many countries look to superpowers like the US as a model for democracy and how laws should be defined. To have even a single state in the US make such a stark stance for or against GLBT rights will mean a lot for governments around the world.

For those who tuned in late, California Proposition 8 entitled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry is a measure attempting to amend the California state constitution with the statement "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." This would run counter to the recent California Supreme Court ruling stating that Proposition 22, which added a definition to the California State Family Code that marriage is the union between as a man and a woman, was in violation of the equal protection clause in the state constitution.

Yeah, it's pretty bad.

If this measure gets pushed, this will be the first time a state will take such a strong stance against GLBT rights by making such unions unconstitutional. The constitution, whether on a state or a national level is practically a sacred thing when it comes to government. It's the very basis for all other laws and it defines the guiding principles for that government in terms of how the laws can be formed. To set in stone that same-sex couples should be denied the right to marry will impact more than just the estimated 16,000 couples who have been married in the state of California. It affects us all and will send ripples through the minds of citizens all over the US and eventually the world whether straight or gay.

In case you tuned in really, really late, I am an out and proud gay man. I don't suffer from limp wrists nor do I speak in a falsetto tone. I don't wear dresses nor do I see anything wrong in any of these things - they just aren't me. If your image of what constitutes a gay man or woman is just in the realm of stereotypes, that's just unfair. It's even worse if you make decisions like what to vote on such measures on a ballot is just inhumane and cruel.

We live in a world of infinite diversity and human nature is what drives that. You can be whoever you want to be and whatever you want to be as long as you don't harm others. Allowing two men or two women to get a piece of paper that says they're married and all the rights that come with that document doesn't hurt anyone - it just allows the same rights and privileges to other people who live normal lives, work to earn a living and have their own dreams of starting a family. It's one thing to vote on a measure that protects others against harm - to vote on a measure that takes rights away from others for no really valid reason is just cruel and vile and just plain wrong.

I'm a gay geek and I'm proud of both words in that term. But neither term alone defines who or what I am - a person is a lot more than a label. When you talk about me, you're talking about the sum total of my life experiences thus far and everything I've ever said, thought or done. It's also everything that I might do in the future and what I might accomplish. You don't get to judge me based on a stereotype or a notion or even just an inkling of who and what I am. Even more, you don't get to deny me my rights and take them away.

I may not live in the US anymore, but I share the concerns that every other gay man or lesbian or whatever else is affected by Proposition 8 feels right now. You don't own marriage just because you're heterosexual and your religious denomination has a sacrament called marriage - that's why there are civil marriages and church marriages. Sure, religions get to decide who or what gets to be married and thus some churches support polygamy while others require monogamy. That's none of my business. But civil marriages are defined by the government and laws are supposed to be decided without religious bias. That's why there's a separation between Church and State!

Tomorrow you're voting about more than just a stereotype or what makes you feel "comfortable" based on your sensibilities or your upbringing or whatever you learned in Sunday school. You're voting about the lives and futures of thousands of same-sex couples in the state of California and thousands more across the country and around the world. You're voting on whether or not it's okay with you to take someone's rights away. Today it's just the right to marriage, but who knows what else might be next.

We live in a world where people get to vote regardless of gender and people get to marry regardless of race or color. Why is it so hard to make the same consideration for homosexuals?

Think about all this when you cast your vote tomorrow Californians. Think about the lives you're going to change with this one vote. Vote responsibly and in consideration of human rights and the fundamental rights of all people, man, woman, gay, lesbian, or whatever else is out there in this wonderfully diverse world.

Vote NO tomorrow on Proposition 8! Vote NO to discrimination!

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