We have seen a lot of things going on this election year, and one of the most talked about issues in California is Proposition 8 which will eliminate the rights of gay and lesbian citizens to marry. This homophobia and bigotry is simply wrong. As someone who was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church and brought up my children as Catholics, I do not understand how anyone can espouse discrimination and hatred and object to giving everyone the same rights and privileges as they have. Jesus walked amongst us and he prayed with us, whether we be sinner or saint. He did not condemn or shout epithets or carry signs of protest if you did not agree with his beliefs. If you want to ask yourself, “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD), the answer is a resounding joyous call to “VOTE NO on Proposition 8” and love one another as he loves you. It huts others for no apparant reason and divides neighbors, friends and families.
I believe the issue about marriage is not whether our gay and lesbian citizens should have all the rights that heterosexual citizens have, but rather it is the word “marriage” itself. I think this stems from a blur in the separation between church and state. Religious zealots have taken the word to mean their religious beliefs about holy matrimony and they simply cannot stand for it being used in a way they find violates those beliefs. Unfortunately, the US federal and state governments have used the word to officially recognize a couple and the basis for a family unit. So, it would seem there is an easy answer to fix this whole dilemma. We should demand that the government cease and desist in the use of the word “marriage” since it belongs within the religious worlds and to define united couples as “civil unions”. Religious organizations can still perform marriages with all that they believe it to mean and they can still be permitted within the law to issue “civil union” licenses within the state. The federal govenment would recognize “civil unioin” status of all couples, regardless of sexual perference or orientation. All federal and state documents, laws and education material would have to change “marriage” to “civil unions”.
In this new definition, we all win. Relgious organizations get what they want — no gay “marriage” by their definition. The true supporters against discrimination and bigotry get what they want — rights and freedom for every person as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America. The gay and lesbian community gets what they way — exact and equal treatment under federal and state law with all other couples and families.
In the meantime, we need to move forward as a people, united in supporting all of the rights and guarantees of the US Constitution — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Until we can separate the religous term of “married” from state and federal language, it is in everyone’s best interest to start by voting NO on Proposition 8 in California and then continue to work within the system to provide equality for all.