Thursday, October 30, 2008

proposition 8

i have started this entry a million times and have gotten nowhere. a lot of people that i know have written entries concerning proposition 8 and they're feelings about it and i haven't written one (well, one that i've published). i just can't figure out how to put it in writing.

first, let me say this, proposition 8 makes me feel as though someone is holding my heart just a little too tightly. it doesn't hurt, but it makes me ache.

we were at a wave today (a wave is where you stand on a street corner and hold the signs and people honk and then you shout things like, "yes on 8!") and on our same street corner were no on 8 people holding signs and shouting. everyone was so angry! they were rude and emotional. i walked up feeling a little nervous with my little 2-year-old and my brand new baby and they were shouting at us.

"bigots!"

"i'm for equal rights, you're just a bunch of hypocrites!"

one girl used the 'f' word and when i pointed out that ava was standing right next to her she started accusing me of hurting my child.

i felt sick.

you know what? i get that they feel passionately about what they're doing. i get that. and i get that they feel a great injustice is being done. and you may not believe me, but i totally get that. when i see a gay person and i think of how they might want to get married and i'm standing there with a sign telling people to vote against that. my marriage has brought me so much joy and when i think about telling someone they can't have that, my heart begins to feel that hand holding it just a little too tightly.

but in california gay couples have every single right as a married couple, it's just not called marriage. and i consider that to be a compromise: they can have every benefit, every blessing, every right as a married couple, only it's not called marriage. and in return, i can teach my children about homosexuality and marriage and family the way i believe and not have some teacher teach it how they see fit. because marriage isn't a civil right. it's the optimal foundation for family and the optimal foundation of our society.

there has not been one part of this proposition that i have enjoyed. not the walking door to door, not the phone calling, not the letter writing. when i think about why i'm not okay with gay marriage, i have a difficult time getting it out properly. i'm not even getting it out properly right now! but it has been such an emotional journey for me, so much worry and grief and shock. and i haven't written about any of it (I barely talk about it).

tonight people were hateful. this one woman was saying awful things, the anger in her voice made me feel cold. i couldn't believe that anyone would talk to me like that. i had done nothing. i held seth in my arms and i watched her, i even followed her around to hear what she was saying, completely shocked at the amount of anger in her tiny body. i didn't even know her. and you know what? had we met anywhere else--anywhere else she would have walked away my friend. and i hers.

so i walked over with some cookies i'd made for the kids while we stood on the street corner and i offered them to the no on 8 people. because i wasn't mad at them. and i wasn't so hateful. i was mostly really sad that they saw me as such a different individual than i really was. we ate cookies and talked and for a moment no one was angry.

i am not a mindless follower. i am not a hateful person. i am not. and i would never, never talk to anyone the way some of those people were talking tonight. never.

the way i see it, proposition 8 is the closest thing to a compromise that i can find on this issue. we get to keep marriage traditional and they get all of the benefits and rights as a married couple. it's equal--the rights are all the same. but it isn't alike. but you know what? we're not alike. i'm not taking anything from anyone, i'm meeting them in the middle. just because you want something doesn't mean you should have it.

when this is over, i'll be so glad. i want to be able to be friends with people again. i don't want to sit down with a dad at the park and know that if he knew my political stand he'd be angry with me.

17 comments:

Hernan said...

I always say that we think alike... and we do... you described my position about this issue... and it is also hard to talk about it to me because I do have friends who are homosexuals and they also feel very strongly about that issue...

Manda said...

I love the way you wrote this. There have been so many posts on all the different websites about Prop 8 and everyone's stance on the issue and every time I read one, I get the feeling that they're either being SUPER defensive or really hostile.
I know how you feel. I'm so sick of this Proposition. I realize how important it is and I've been doing stuff to support it, but I don't feel the need to shout my position to everyone and then engage in a verbal battle when they disagree.
Only a few more days.

Molly said...

this is a difficult topic and i think it's natural for people to become deeply emotional about it. any time you tell a group of people they're not good enough to do something, it's going to evoke a deep response.

i think it's clear we stand on opposite sides of the fence on this issue, i appreciate that your view on the topic is one that isn't as rooted in fear as others i've read and heard.

here's my biggest qualm with this- people need to take a step back and and realize that this isn't about gay rights, it's about CIVIL rights. every american citizen, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, age, race, religion or political affiliation is an AMERICAN, and is due the civil rights promised by the constitution.

MY POINT IS.... there is supposed to be this fancy thing this country was founded on called SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. what you or others consider "right" or "wrong" is completely irrelevant. there are a lot of things that you think are wrong that i think are perfectly fine. what you, or any group of people, think is "wrong" has no place in the law. for example, a lot of LDS people don't believe in drinking caffeine. that's all well and good, but it doesn't mean they get to have caffeinated beverages removed from school vending machines. they get to teach their children in their own homes that they feel caffeine is not acceptable to consume, and trust their children will make a good decision. people are welcome to teach their children that homosexual relationships (or marriages) are wrong. it doesn't mean those people don't have the right to marry.

carol said...

Miriam, I'm proud of you for bringing cookies and talking sensibly to people who had been being mean to you. I don't think I could have done that--I hate conflict. I don't like all the anger that is coming from both sides. I do have to say, though, that while the civil unions are recognized in the state, they are not recognized by the federal government, so any rights that are provided by the federal government, i.e. when filing income taxes, are not given to same sex couples. I'm with Molly on this one. (well said, Molly.)

carol said...

I should clarify--if the union is instead called a marriage, then the government will recognize it as such. It's semantics!

redstarmama said...

I started a comment on this post, which I quickly noticed was becoming a post of my own. So if you want to read my comment, check out my latest post.

Good on you for bringing cookies and making peace. I'm proud of you for that!

Liz said...

Thanks Miriam. You claim that you don't express yourself the way you'd like to on this issue, but I get you completely. I wish that people could peacefully disagree, but it's too emotional of a topic, I guess. I think you're awesome for taking some cookies out to your "opposition." I've often thought, as you mentioned, that after this is over, we all go back to being neighbors again anyway. I hope this doesn't ruin relationships. One of the ladies in our sign waving group had the opportunity to talk to three young girls who were holding "No on 8" signs at our corner. She just told them not to let any negative comments get to them should anyone be so rude as to yell at them as they drove by. She kindly reminded them to just let the bad stuff roll off their backs. I thought that was awesome (and so did the girls) because it's not usually the pro-Prop 8 people screaming obscenities out their car windows while chasing you down with their middle finger. Thanks again for sharing your feelings in such an open manner. I agree completely!

Anonymous said...

Miriam, my dear friend Molly passed me this post and I must commend you. Your post is thoughtful, intelligent and full of love.

However, I too stand with my sisters Molly and Carol on this one. What is getting lost in all this is that we're "arguing" values that absolutely should be taught in homes and churches and among families .... within the context of laws and goverment. Everyone, on every side of every issue, loses themselves when we do this. And then we scream and honk horns and make mean judgemental statements and all it does is create more divisions in a country that is supposed to be UNITED!

When one says, "It's good enough for me, but not for you", that is not equal. Anyway you cut it that's not equal. Equal is equal is equal. Equality is not conditional. I think Jesus would be ashamed at this translation of the word equality.

I voted NO on Prop 8 very very vehemently based solely on the fact that I don't believe religious/family values are the court's job to dictate. I believe very strongly in our right to teach our children in whatever way we each see fit, full of love and values and with a strong moral code. That is our right because we live in an amazing contry where men have fought for our rights to do so. Though now that we have those rights, we have become very quick to take them from others.

Let us be clear, it is not the government's job to "mandate" religious code. It is the government's job to instill freedom. The freedom for each of us to make whatever choices we see fit.

When a court of law starts mandating biblical teachings, we become .... um, the Taliban. Sounds extreme, right? Well, this is precisely what the Taliban did so it's not so far off base.

I know the Prop. 8 proponents think teachers are going to "teach" homosexuality. Um .... last time I checked HETEROSEXUALITY is not "taught". What IS taught in science is reproduction which we all know happens only with a sperm and an egg. So as the world evolves, that teaching may also include how mommy and daddy became parents in a petri dish, at an adoption agency or at a fertility clinic. Science is taught, not sexual ORIENTATION. It has not, and will not ever, ever ever be "taught". I am sorry that certain organizations are telling people these things. Please have faith in the educational system that homosexuality is not ever going to be on next year's lesson plan. This is a very sad fear tactic to get people to sway a certain way. (I'm getting off topic) ...

Miriam I just want to say that I hear your internal conflict and I applaud you for finding your voice and communicating it here. Thnnk you for sharing and doing so so eloquently.

At the end of the day, I hate what propositions like this do to us. ALL of us.

What would Jesus think of this?

*sigh*

Sara

Liz said...

To Sara:

Please read California Education Code 51933. Specifically section (a) which reads: "School districts may provide comprehensive sexual health education, consisting of age-appropriate instruction, in any
kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, using instructors trained in the appropriate courses." And, number (11), which reads: "Commencing in grade 7, instruction and materials shall
provide pupils with skills for making and implementing responsible
decisions about sexuality." If same-sex marriage is legalized, proponents will have the state's blessing to teach same-sex practices in schools beginning in kindergarten.

Now, please read Parker v. Hurley, in which case David Parker was refused the parental right to opt his child out of such education in Massachusetts and the audacity of the judge presiding over said case when he suggested that the solution to this problem is that the Parkers and Wirthlins segregate themselves by placing their child in a private school. This decision was made regardless of the state education's code which includes an "opt-out" clause. I applaud Parker's response when he said, "I remember when segregation used to be the problem, but in this case it is the solution."

The "No on 8" campaign has a television ad featuring the empty promise of Jack O'Connell, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, that schools will not be required to teach about same-sex relationships. However, 96% of California schools do teach about marriage and sexual practices. Again, his promise is empty because he himself is required to abide by the state's education code which would include same-sex "marriage" under any discussion of marriage and sex...should Proposition 8 not pass. I pray it isn't so.

To those who say, "we are not Massachusetts." I say, neither did citizens of Massachusetts ever think that such laws would trump their parental rights.

As for Jesus, I believe He would respond along the lines of "love the sinner, hate the sin," as He does throughout the scriptures. He does not condone sin and nor should we in the name of "fairness" or "equality." At the heart of our human nature, we are all created equal, however, some are born into strong addictions and tendencies that they struggle to overcome. We should not embrace their addictions or their tendencies...just them.

Liz said...

Furthermore, Molly (and I swear this is the last time I'll write a book on your blog, Miriam!), it just so happens that caffeine in schools is an unfair comparison to same-sex marriage being taught in schools. My impressionable child can walk right by a vending machine without a second glance. My teaching him/her in the home that drinking caffeine is unacceptable, will not be challenged by a vending machine. Now, a teacher, a powerful authority figure in an impressionable child's life, one whom my child spends a good portion of the day with in the early years of his education, will be able to challenge my teachings that homosexuality is a sin. And with the state's stamp of approval, no less. Again, I refer readers to Parker v. Hurley, in which case parental rights were steam-rolled with respect to, not even education of same-sex marriage, but simple prior notification of same-sex marriage education days. In this case, Massachusetts' "opt out" clause did nothing to protect the parents' rights. Suddenly a child's moral education has been ripped from the parents and the home and placed in the care of the state and the schools. Unless, of course, you're willing to foot the enormous bill to not only transfer your child's education to the private school arena, but simultaneously continue to foot the bill (through taxes) for other children's same-sex indoctrination in the public schools. Scary.

And yes, Molly, I agree with you that gays deserve all the same rights as heterosexual couples. But what is not being said here is that THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE SAME RIGHTS as heterosexual couples under the name of civil unions and domestic partnerships. I do not believe they have a "right" to the word marriage. And, they do not really care to marry, either. In the first three months after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, homosexual marriages filled the pages of the wedding announcement sections. However, that wave not only died down, but practically became extinct in the years following the ruling. If you ask many in the gay community if they even want to marry, they say no. Legalization of same-sex marriage is not about "love" or "equal rights." At the very core it is about the desire of the homosexual community to remove the stigma from their chosen lifestyle and normalize it through various shameful tactics such as teaching it to little children as being an acceptable sexual choice or targeting people of faith for supposed "discrimination." Are you aware of the depth of "knowledge" these children will be exposed to concerning gay sexual practices? Have you heard of "The Little Black Book, Gay in the 21st Century," which was distributed by GLSEN to teens at a high school in Massachusetts? I have seen the first few pages (and that is all I could stomach), but multiple reports concur that the content is not only lewd and pernicious, but downright pornographic and obscene. I don't hold with teaching a teen how to pleasurably, but safely, urinate on his same-sex partner, or how to "fist" without causing damage, or how to f--- without contracting an STD. Do you? A homosexual's "right to marry" as you put it, is backed by evidence that conceding that supposed "right" will eventually result in the elimination of my rights as a parent, my religious rights, and my right to free speech. And even so, where do you draw the line? If you redefine marriage once, then you'd best be prepared to do it again and again and again when Polygamists claim they have a right to marry whomever they want (and however many they want) in the name of love. Or pedophiles with "consenting" minors, or sickening bestiality of all things, "I love my donkey so I should be able to marry it." (And don't think this isn't real...we had a man yell out his car window, in all seriousness, that if he loved his dog, he should be able to marry it because "America is a free country."). So you see, when a society decides to reject rule based on what is right and turns instead to rule based on self-gratification and fairness, we essentially open the floodgates for all sorts of sinful practices to take advantage of the weakened definition of marriage. America was founded by good, God-fearing men. Religion is the very reason our country was settled in the first place. The very traditions and righteousness that shaped the formation and success of our country are now being ripped to shreds in the name of progressiveness, fairness, and equality. I for one, will not stand idly by as that happens. I will not only teach my children that homosexuality is immoral, but I will also fight to preserve the innocence of their childhood education. I will never stop fighting for that. (As evidenced by my monopoly of Miriam's comments section). :)

LilSass said...

Liz,

Your information about 96% of Calfornia schools teaching marriage is absolutely factually incorrect. I went to CATHOLIC school and we were not taught about marriage. Go ahead, call my diocese and complain.

Teaching sexual education has been proven by SCIENTISTS, doctors and educational researchers to REDUCE teen pregnancies and STD rates among young people. Your leap from "sex ed will be taught" to presuming that anal sex instruction is going to be given is absolutely preposterous and insulting to the educational system. There is a CONTEXT in which to teach sex ed. "Sex ed" in kindergarten is reference to bad touching and what to do when an adult does inappropriate things. That is IT. Do NOT take things out of context because you know what assumptions do. It infuriates me that people think California is made up of godless freaks showing porno to 3rd graders. Give me a break!

I beg of you to do some research in states where abstinence education has been implemented. Oh right, under Bush's funding all the ugly outcomes of teaching ZERO sex ed have wreaked havoc on young people. Give them zero tools and they'll simply make poor decisions. Teach them appropriately and they will make better, safer decisions. It's science, you can't argue this.

I'm wondering when Mormons will go the way of the Catholics and start using all that tithing money for your own schools. You want children to learn your own beliefs, g'head, it's called private schools. I know enough about the deep pockets of the Mormons so build your OWN schools and follow your OWN rules. Problem solved. Segregate yourselves and we'll all be better for it.

Sara

Anonymous said...

And lastly, it makes me physically ill that you actually uttered these words: "The very traditions and righteousness that shaped the formation and success of our country are now being ripped to shreds in the name of progressiveness, fairness, and equality."

I actually think you just admitted to being a bigot. Thank you for at least being honest.

Anonymous said...

And Miriam, I still appreciate your thoughts on this issue and I apologize if things have taken an unfortunate turn. *sigh*

May God bless us all

Sara

Liz said...

Ooo, ouch. Here, again, comes that anger I just can't understand and yet have been the target of over these last few weeks. The attitude of "get out of my sight if you disagree with my opinion," "segregate yourselves," "start your own private schools." You even "presume" to put words in my mouth that I have never spoken, nor will ever speak, "It infuriates me that people think California is made up of godless freaks showing porno to 3rd graders." I do not think that. I am not accusing. I am not hating. And I'm not opposed to homosexuals having unions. What I would like is the assurance that my child will not be taught immorality by an authority figure in school. Or that my religious liberties will not be trounced on when I decline to service a homosexual couple based on my religious convictions. Without Prop 8, I do not have that assurance.

Incidentally, you saying that your school doesn't teach about marriage does not prove anything false with regard to the statistic I quoted that 96% of California schools do teach about marriage. Your assertion simply clarifies that your school is among the 4% that doesn't.

I am not presuming or assuming anything about what will be taught in schools. I am stating facts about what has been taught and/or distributed in schools in another state that has legalized same-sex marriage and has a similar education code to ours. I do not just spout opinions based on nothing but fears as others have suggested. I do A LOT of research. I never said a kindergartner will be taught inappropriate sex ed, that was in reference to high school students receiving disgusting instructional pamphlets. I said kindergartners will be taught that homosexuality is okay when it is not. They will be conditioned, through stories and books and relationship instruction, to accept a lifestyle that is unacceptable. I can teach my children to make a distinction between loving a person and embracing their lifestyle. I do not trust a teacher to be able (or willing, for that matter) to do the same.

My words you have quoted have been severely misunderstood if you think that they belie any bigotry. The definition of a bigot is "a person who is intolerant, especially regarding religion, politics, or race." First, I am not intolerant. I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but I have tolerated its slow and steady permeation of our society nonetheless. I believe homosexuality is a sin, but that does not mean that I hate homosexuals. What I will not tolerate, as I have clearly stated, is the removal of my rights as a parent, my religious rights as member of my church, and my freedom of speech as a citizen of the United States. I will not tolerate losing federally protected freedoms, established at the very founding of our country, because a minute percentage of the population has decided that their deviant lifestyle is, in fact, entitled to recognition and instruction as morally equal to heterosexual marriage.

Your suggestion that we would be better off segregating ourselves saddens me. You don't hear me calling for homosexuals to make their own schools, do you? I have never asked them to remove themselves from my presence as you have just called for Mormons to do. Why would you ever wish for a practice that caused so much pain in another era? I am not a gay basher. I do not believe I am better than anyone, let alone homosexuals. I have a gay cousin and two gay brothers-in-law that I love very much. My brothers-in-law are among my children's favorite uncles and I find the greatest of joy in watching their interactions. I love them dearly and yet there are people who would make my opinions into something ugly and hateful, intolerant and so-called "bigoted."

I am sorry that my opinion offends you so. I am passionate, but I am not intolerant or obstinate. Please do not confuse the two.

I agree with you, "May God bless us all."

Liz said...

I'm sorry, Miriam! I broke my promise that I wouldn't be writing any more books in your comments sections! :) I hope you'll forgive me.

Anonymous said...

Out of respect for Miriam's space and her own thoughts on this I am not going to reply to Liz.

Miriam, look what you started ;-)

My thoughts about your feelings on this do not change. I appreciate your words and candor in sharing it with us.

Sara

Catherine Hess said...

Miriam, I admire you so much for really thinking through things and for making an opinion and then standing up for it. You inspire me.