Prop 8 – Is it really still legal to openly discriminate?
Last week, the trial began where two same-sex couples are suing over the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. In case you missed it, Proposition 8 voters passed in 2008 – by a vote of 52% – stating that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in the state of California.
The Judge has banned the trial from being aired on television or the internet, however, there are many places you can read about the trial as it is happening live.
The plaintiff’s side is pretty clear, Equal Treatment. The defendant’s say they are trying to protect traditional marriage, and protect children.
Let’s start off by asking what do they mean by traditional marriage? I know, one man-one woman. It seems to me that many (not all but enough to mention it) traditional marriages end up in divorce. Many caused by infidelity. Let’s name a few political figures who are strong opponents of same-sex marriage and also have been not following their guidelines for “protecting traditional marriage”. A few examples, Mark Sanford the Governor of South Carolina, Michael Duvall former California Assemblyman, Newt Gingrich former House speaker, and Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania– just to name a few. All are opponents of same-sex marriage, all have admittedly had extramarital affairs.
Then there’s the traditional argument of protecting the children. This is not even a valid debate. Marriage does not equal children. My partner and I want very much to get married, and it’s very unlikely we will ever have children. I have friends, who are opposite-sex married people, who do not want children. Are they following the guidelines of a traditional couple? I don’t think they were required to have children before they could marry, nor do they have to pro-create to stay married. If you did have to pro-create to be married, then would that mean people who are physically unable to bear children would not be allowed to marry? Even if they are an opposite-sex couple?
If you really want to protect children, then you should be a supporter of same-sex marriage. By not allowing same-sex couples to marry – you only harm those children who have same-sex parents. First, you are saying to them that they are not accepted because their parents are not accepted. Second, by only allowing one parent to be legally responsible for their child, you could be taking away that child’s protection. What if the non-legally responsible parent is the one that works while the legal parent is a stay-at-home parent? That child would not be covered under their working parents health insurance. What if the legally responsible parent dies? Would you want that child to go into a group home system? Would you not want that child to have access to their parents’ social security benefits-no matter what their parent’s sexual orientation is?
By not allowing same-sex marriages, opponents are openly discriminating against same-sex couples. Making them feel as though they are second class citizens. What is being said to gay and lesbian youth is that they are not equal and that they are not treated equally. This can lead to depression, substance abuse, and suicide. I speak from personal experience.
As a closeted-lesbian youth in my teens, I struggled greatly with my sexuality. I often thought of taking my own life. I thought I would never be accepted. Luckily for me – I am stronger than that. Children should never feel that way. If you really want to protect children, then let them know that they are equal.
If you really want to protect marriage, look to Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is legal. Massachusetts has the lowest rate of divorce in the country and they are continuing to decline in comparison to any other state in the U.S. I’m not saying that same-sex couples will never divorce, but they should have the option.
We shall see what happens over the next few weeks in California. You know I have a lot more to say about this subject and can pretty much guarantee I will be writing more on it soon.