Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed during the November 2008 California state elections. The measure added a new provision to the California Constitution which reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
During the election contest, it was hard to find a single Claremont student who was in support of Prop. 8, given the overwhelmingly liberal slant of the student body.
As a liberal, I fully support repealing Prop. 8, but I was curious about what the opposition had to say. I visited the Prop. 8 website to see what I could find.
The site’s argument stressed the importance of “RESTOR[ING] THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE” [sic]. Yes, all caps, making this part super important. What does “restoring the definition of marriage” even mean, and why is it important to these voters? What is the sanctity of marriage, anyway?
The site argues that straight marriage has been around for thousands of years and hasn’t done us wrong so far. But ask any married couple you know if marriage is easy. I’m not arguing that we should abandon marriage, but maybe a change wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Furthermore, the site argues that gay marriage is unconstitutional, which was technically true when the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in early 2008. The state constitution does indeed define marriage as between a man and a woman, but the legislature introduced a “no sexual discrimination” policy, which never came to fruition because two men still can’t marry under the existing definition of marriage.
To mollify this offense to human rights, the site claims that Prop. 8 is “not an attack on the gay lifestyle.” They claim that because gay marriage was already banned in 2000, and no laws have changed, Prop 8 does not constitute an attack but rather maintains the status quo.
Whether or not Prop 8 is labeled an attack, conservative America remains prejudiced against homosexuals as well as other minority groups because they are afraid of people who maintain different lifestyles.
The argument continues, “While death, divorce, or other circumstances may prevent the ideal, the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father.” But I’d like to see the empirical evidence for this conservative hocus-pocus.
I found more lies and deceit the further down the page I read. “TEACHERS COULD BE REQUIRED [sic] to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.” Not true. More homophobia. Notice the word “could.” This implies that Prop. 8 supporters have some factual knowledge of likelihoods, when in reality, they do not.
The authors of the article pushed the children agenda further, as if homosexuals were at that very moment creeping into their children’s kindergarten classes and handing out Madonna CDs. “We should not accept a court decision that may result in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay.” But homosexuality is not a choice, and teaching about it will not affect children in any way except perhaps to enlighten them a bit more about the world.
In short, I was tired by the time I reached the bottom of the web page. Over and over again, they repeat the unconstitutionality of the law and the importance of the grammatical structure of the 14-word constitutional provision (which, by the way, raked in a whopping $40 million in support during the election that could have been spent on relevant humanitarian and civic projects). The same kind of entrenched opposition challenged the Civil Rights Movement, and if there is anything our society has not yet learned, it’s that separate is not equal.
But here’s why I’m not worried about this: Steve Jobs just introduced the iPad. Canada has legalized gay marriage. Barack Obama is president. Medical marijuana is legal. Progress is in progress. I believe that the right to gay marriage ranks alongside the Civil Rights Movement because it is a struggle for human rights, which sometimes must be wrested from the hands of ignorant people. What’s more is that this measure has attracted more outspoken opposition from the community than virtually any proposal before it. People everywhere are protesting. It’s on T-shirts, it’s on wristbands, and it’s making people grow moustaches. (They’re symbols of your support.)
Opposing Prop. 8 has even become a fashion statement, and it’s been over a full year since its inception. My little sister, who happens to be awesome, shows up to her Thousand Oaks middle school wearing a pink shirt that reads “Legalize Gay,” and, as we all know, middle-schoolers have long represented the pinnacle of fashion sense. Therefore, I say: buy a T-shirt, buy a wristband, and grow a moustache.