It is with mixed emotion today that I write after the election is over. On one hand, the nation has shown that we can look past race and elect a man of color to the highest office of the land. Time will tell if he is the best man for the job. I for one believe he was the best choice on the ballot and voted for him. I still am amazed that in the primary, it came down to a woman and an African-American man on the Democratic side. And then the country elected the African-American man! We have come a long way.
At least in some areas we have. In California, various religious groups got out the vote and put Proposition 8 on the ballot and it passed, putting marriage out of reach for gays and lesbians. This is a step backwards for basic civil rights. The amazing thing is that the vote was very close – much closer than the last time it was voted on just a few years ago. The arguments for banning gay marriage simply don’t hold water. Here in California, we have domestic partnerships, so folks say it is “separate yet equal”. Sound familiar? Think bathrooms and drinking fountains in the South. It’s just all very sad and depressing. I don’t know how to discuss this issue with anyone who says that marriage is a tradition of “man and woman”. What is a tradition? A legal arrangement? A religious arrangement? What? We are talking about civil law here. Why does it have to be different?
Some of what I saw during this whole Prop 8 campaign disgusted me. The Mormon church used its vast resources to get behind this proposition, as did other church organizations. Why are we not pulling their tax exempt status for this type of behavior? Part of their argument against gay marriage was that they would lose their tax exempt status if they didn’t perform gay marriages, so why do we allow them to do politicking without repercussions? Why do they use their vast monetary and manpower resources for this kind of work instead of doing social good, like building houses, ministering to the sick and elderly, and clothing the poor? Isn’t that why they are tax exempt – so they can use their income for good works? Think of all of the good the millions of dollars could have done that went into this campaign. Unbelievable.
As for teaching marriage in schools, I don’t think marriage should be taught in schools at all, straight or gay. Let parents teach that at home or church. Sexual education, both birth control and abstinence, can be taught in school, but keep marriage out of it. Today is both a happy day for our nation, but a sad day for California as the true colors of discrimination shine through.