Saturday, November 8, 2008

Californians Who Voted to Ban Gay Marriage Need to Examine Their Reasons - Obama Needs to Speak Out On This

Amidst the celebration of Tuesday's revolutionary election, the enemies of freedom snuck around the back when no one was looking and voted to ban gay marriage in California. Obama carried California by a massive 61% to 37% - but Proposition 8 and its ban on gay marriage also passed by a narrow margin, too.

It's not clear if Proposition 8 is even legal. As attorney Lisa Bloom explained to Anderson Cooper on CNN last night, such changes in the law have to be enacted by the legislature, not voted upon by the people.

But even more disturbing is the reason generally given against allowing gays to marry. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, put it forth again on CNN last night - gay marriage threatens the institution of heterosexual marriage, or marriage between a man and woman.

Now I'm wondering how exactly would that work? I've been a devoted heterosexual ever since I can remember, and happily married to my wife for more than thirty years. So what would happen if my wife and I lived in California prior to Tuesday's vote? I take my wife to dinner one night, and over a soft glass of wine, I take her hand, and say, "sorry, baby, it's been grand, but we can't be married any longer because we live in a state where gays can marry"?

Or maybe it's supposed to affect people in their formative years, before they get married. And that would work, how? A man and woman are madly in love, or wanting to get married because they're great together in bed, or they know they're soul mates, and they decide not to marry because gays can marry? B just doesn't follow A, by any stretch, in that scenario.

And the reason these hypothetical examples seem so absurd is that, in fact, gay marriage will have no ill effect on heterosexual marriage at all, and the people who are crusading to ban gay marriage - such as Tony Perkins - don't really believe that gay marriage poses any threat to heterosexual marriage. Their reason for wanting to ban marriage is that they just don't like it - it offends their sensibilities.

Now, in a free society, we are free to like or dislike anything we please. But we are not free to impose our dislikes on others, as long they are not forcing or obliging us to do something against our will. Consenting adults who are gay are nobody else's business, plain and simple. If you don't like it, don't watch The L Word, speak out against it all you like. But you have no right to tell other people whether or not they can marry.

The people of California need to reconsider their reasons for voting for Proposition 8.

But there is something else that must be said. During the election, I was frequently asked by Republicans if I agreed with every single position that Obama presented. I said, of course not, and usually cited Obama's dissing of television and video games as an example of his not fully recognizing the value of these media.

But there's something else. Obama and every other major candidate for the Presidency this time around said they supported civil unions but not gay marriage - meaning, gays would be given all the rights of married couples, but they couldn't actually be married.

Enough is enough: Gays are entitled to be married just the same as any other human beings. Barack Obama has no control over what happens in California, but I call upon him to come out with a clear statement that gay people are entitled to be married.

Or, as Obama said in his victory speech on Tuesday night -

young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans who send a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states - we are and always will be the United States of America.

Mr. President-Elect, it's time to make good on this message and send it out not only to the world, but to the state of California.

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