Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Family Proposition

When I saw little Hannah Hernandez carrying her Vote No on Prop 8 sign at the Farmers' Market yesterday I trotted after her family to ask if I could take their photo. They were happy to pose, just as I'm happy to say I oppose Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 would amend the California state constitution, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. Californians will be voting for or against Prop 8 Tuesday in the general election. If you're not from California you may think we're all fine with the idea of gays and lesbians marrying, but the issue has been hotly contested.

The Hernandez family of Altadena reminds me of another Altadena family I know, where both parents of beautiful children happen to be women. I don't see why those parents and children shouldn't have the same rights as others. Or what about the gay couple who lives down the street from us? They've been a couple longer than John and I have, they keep their place as nice as we do. Well. Nicer. America is where discrimination is supposed to be illegal, not legitimized. I think San Diego's Mayor Jerry Sanders said it best: "No matter how people feel about marriage, using our state constitution to discriminate is wrong..."

I thank the Hernandez family for standing up for their beliefs. Plus I really like Hannah's boots.


USelaine said...

I have known a woman since high school, who has been with her partner since college. I was a witness at their first ceremony in a church, that did not include any legal recognition back in the 80s. Then they got married in San Francisco when that window of opportunity opened up for marriage. Then, just a few weeks ago they got married a third time. I can't imagine denying them the legal recognition of the state to all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage. They've certainly proved their commitment and love, and raise their son and daughter with intelligence, compassion, and participation in the Methodist church.

Abraham Lincoln said...

There is a lot of resentment to same sex marriage. We have a daughter who has a partner and that makes a family as much as "two old ladies living together" when I was a child. People called them sisters but they were not sisters. We also had the Wimer brothers living together but maybe they were not brothers after all. Who knew.

Therese said...

Why go back on passed propositions? I wonder.

Trish said...

Petrea---GREAT post! Thank you for putting it so eloquently!

The point I have tried to explain to folks who are leaning to passing 8 is---this is altering the Constitution of the State. If this proposition passes, what is the next group to be gone after to be discriminated against? Take out same gender and go back a few years and insert who "blacks" cannot marry, or "Mongols" or...yes, it was LAW just a few short years ago. Seems we are regressing.

Therese---this was not a passed proposition, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that the State discriminated against residents of the State by refusing same gender persons to marry legally because the Constitution did not prohibit same gender marriage, but the State would not issue marriage licenses to couples of same gender.

Yes, the Supreme Court, many of whom were brought on during the GOP years, who tend to run conservative. THEY realized the error and discrimination and ruled accordingly. What I applaud the Court in doing is following the LAW and ruling accordingly. THAT I respect.

Now mostly the Mormon church and Knights of Columbus are funding the passing of the proposition 8.

Even my very conservative mother-in-law is voting No on Prop 8 because she does not believe in discrimination. (yes, that was my jaw hitting the floor)!

Virginia said...

Good one today Petrea. Wish I were there to vote NO as well. Live and let live is what we should all be about. My grandmother always said, "Judge not , that ye be not judged."

And Hannah.....hand over those fine, fine, superfine boots, girl!

Sharon said...

Petrea, I couldn't agree more. You have expressed this issue beautifully. We in Arizona are facing the same thing and hoping to defeat this discriminatory issue one more time.

I those boots.

Ted Thompson said...

I may be missing something, seeing as how LAW is less a matter of common sense, and more a matter of self perpetuated employment of those who handle it...

Anywho, I quote myself, from another time I wrote about the issue.

"Marriage today is very much a legal affair. There is marriage in the church, yes, but the greatest impact on everyday life is the legal ramifications. A Spouse can make medical decisions if you are incapaciated, a "partner" can't. You get better rates in many cases if you are married, but not if you are "single".

So, by denying same sex couples a legal marriage we are in effect violating the precept of "Equal Protection Under The Law"

Ergo - banning same sex marriage is Illegal."

Bernie K. said...

I'm the first one to be guilty of that primal human failing: I forget that what I do to others I first do to myself. It's no wrong to inveigh against and punish demonstrable crime—e.g., murder. But those who would proscribe against imagined harms live in a demon-haunted world; this country was founded to answer their bestial ignorance.

To proponents of this proposition, I say:

If your mating is so fragile it can't withstand the buffet of mere knowledge of other possibilities, you'll find no recourse in criminalizing those possibilities. To vote for this proposition is to pervert our ancient tradition of replacing stones with words. This fight predates your religion—it reaches back to the cave where we all were born. We have journeyed too long to be daunted by the likes of you, so if you love America, beware: the sanctity of private choice will be defended by that civilization which means to endure.

Petrea said...

I notice a lot of Pro 8 folks say this is going to be taught in the schools, but marriage isn't taught in schools and this proposition doesn't require it to be taught.

I also notice a lot of Pro 8 folks talk about how God said marriage is to be between a man and a woman. First, in America we're founded on the separation of church and state. God isn't in charge of our constitution. Second, the signs saying "We Support the Right to Marry" hang on Christian churches around town, and I agree: discrimination is decidedly UN-Christian.

But It looks like I'm preaching to the choir here.

Cafe Observer said...
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Cafe Observer said...

Choir? What?
Look closer, P: you're preaching to a dog too, may I remind you!

yes/no on 8? Dunno really who/what to believe on this or any political shit. that's just one result when people lose respect for Truth.

"I thank the Hernandez family for standing up for their beliefs." Good!

I thank those who respect the right of others to express differing beliefs. maybe Better!!

Citizens need to be able to hear all three sides of an issue. We need to hear beyond the two pop-culture party candidates, and give an ear to the serious 3rd party candidate. The Best!!!

suddenly i feel like eating some nice chocolate - gotta run.

Petrea said...

C.O., I agree we need to hear all sides of a political issue. But this is not a political issue, or at least it shouldn't be. One group doesn't have the right to tell another group who they can or cannot marry. It doesn't seem to me that love can be legislated. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around that, and I find this whole battle tantamount to racism. Could be Prop 8 will pass. If that happens, I don't think this battle's over. Just like it took a long time (is taking a long time) for the races to achieve equality.

Bernie K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

I might as well chime in here, a bit late tho, oh well.

I am a bit confused on this, because in fact, if there is some sort of teaching/preaching of gay marriage in schools, well, I am not for it and wouldnt want my children taught that. In some research I havent found any proof that kids are taken to see gay weddings, or are taught gay marriage in school (not yet anyhow).

So, being torn how to vote, I am constantly reminded of Americas founding fathers. See, they hated democracy, which is basically mob rule. And thats whats happening here. Mob rule, or democracy, is the majority wins. This country is supposed to be a Republic, which protects everyones rights. Even though I may not be for gay marriage, who am I to tell someone else what they can or cannot do??

Here is a brief summary I always like to use...
In a democracy, Petrea :) has a water well on her property. Her neighbors (9 of them) all want water too and ask Petrea if they can have her water. She tells them, no sorry, I spent 3 years digging this well and I need it to feed my family. Homer, a neighbor says "Well lets take it to a vote! Who wants Petreas water!" Petrea, of course is allowed to vote, but she is going to lose the vote. Of course all her neighbors want the water! Democracy is basically mob rule.

In a Republic, Petrea has a water well on her property. Her neighbors (9 of them) all want water too and ask Petrea if they can have her water. She tells them, no sorry, I spent 3 years digging this well and I need it to feed my family. Here is the difference... a republic will PROTECT Petreas water well and tell the neighbors, no sorry, this is Petrea water and no one elses. You are free to do what you want with your water since you own it. Sell it, give it away, donate it, whatever you so choose. ITS YOURS.

Our founding fathers HATED democracy, recognizing that it is nothing more than social slavery.

This situation is something similar. And this is why Ron Paul gets my write-in vote on Tuesday. Obama is socialist (please dont tell me he is not). Ive been to Russia & Ukraine many times to understand what socialism does to people. McCain is a crook and was a member of the Keating Five savings & loan scandal. I seriously pray for this country.

Kris said...

My advice to anyone offended by same sex marriages?

Don't marry someone of the same gender as you!

Otherwise, shush!

Petrea said...

Medicare and Social Security are programs that "spread the wealth around," i.e., "socialist" in John McCain's view. He'd like to get rid of them.

I'm not too worried about America becoming a socialist country. It's hard for me to believe we'd stand for it.

But I'm not sure what that has to do with Prop 8.

Our founding fathers believed in the separation of church and state. They believed in freedom from religious persecution.

Kris, you rock.

Bernie K. said...

Kris wins.

Cafe Observer said...
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Cafe Observer said...

P, why isn't 8 a part of politics?

P8 is a political issue simply because it's the people deciding here is a problem that affects most of us, backed by big money, concerning a constitional amendment, involving the st supreme ct, a part of public policy discussion, enshrined in the state constitution, licensed by the counties, enforced by govt & the court system.

It's part of the important affairs of people for which they engage the political system & its govt bodies.

And, "it doesn't seem to me that love can be legislated." I agree, P, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about marriage - not love. It's popular to think one has to be with the other. In theory, love could be legislated if the pols/voters simply redefined the meaning of love.

One group has been telling another group what rights they have/don't since I can remember.

Kris: telling someone to simply shut-up, or to ignore something we don't like or think is right, is simply self-centered in the least. I wouldn't want to follow your reasoning to it's logical conclusion.

We are entering dangerous times if we have a majority population that sees only their side & cares little about all sides. It's win at all costs. Political discussion today is often dishonest. If that becomes the norm, well, the voters will become cynical.

P, I'm open to why 8 isn't a part of politics.

1916: yes, we're a Republic. Another popular notion is "we're a democracy" - god help us if that becomes the mob rule of law.

Y'all really need some people-training from us dogs.

I think I've been infected with something from Laurie. So, I gotta cut these shorter. Enuf of this. I'm gonna celebrate on Wed the 5th!

Kris said...

Cafe Observer, you say Kris: telling someone to simply shut-up, or to ignore something we don't like or think is right, is simply self-centered in the least. I wouldn't want to follow your reasoning to it's logical conclusion.

What's that logical conclusion? A whole section of the community denied the same rights as another section because they don't like one facet of their lives?

Bernie K. said...

Cafe Observer: P isn't saying Prop 8's not "part of politics" or "political." Obviously it is, being a proposition. What she's saying it it shouldn't be—that is, the question of whether folks should marry one sex or another should not be settled in the political arena. I suspect you know some history, so I won't enumerate the countless times such harmless private choices (as mating) have been dragged into the public sphere and both have been damaged. No good ever comes of invading harmless private choices. Those who do, beware: the same may befall you.

Also, Kris didn't tell anybody to "shut up," but to "hush up," which I think is a much friendlier way of saying "mind your own business. So let's stay friendly, here.

Because that's what's at issue here: strangers have no business telling you what to do is what you're doing isn't hurting anyone. How do folks decide whether your actions are harmful to strangers? Not by religious principles—not in America, anyway. Americans treasure rationality and recourse to the secular law, precisely—but not entirely—to protect religious practices.

Now, you know all this. I'm just reminding everybody that we get along through tolerance, not division. You get what you give.

Petrea said...

I think Kris's "hush up" was said in the spirit of fun.

However, we're having a discussion here and I wished to spark one, so this is fun. Thank you, CO, for discussing.

"We are entering dangerous times if we have a majority population that sees only their side & cares little about all sides." I agree. I have certainly felt this coming from both sides of the political arena of late. But we're pretty well split down the middle these days, so I have no fear of there being a ruling party in America any time soon.

As I said, I don't think Prop 8 *should* be a political matter. I don't understand how private lives become political. We're talking about how people want to live *their* lives, not about how they want you to live *your* life. (I'm speaking of the general you, not you personally.) It doesn't affect you. So why do you get to vote on how someone else lives? How does it affect you? Why do you have a say in that?

It's beyond me that an American would consider it okay to vote away someone's rights.

Cafe Observer said...

Y'all, I'm at a Cafe, believe it or not, and don't have time to continue de discussion. It's a monday & I need to do some work. But, respectful discussion/debate is what I am most concerned about here to insure this is kept alive - the macro, not the current hot issue of the day.
Hopefully, this can continue without me in the meantime -w/others -& not waiting just 4 me to be the contrarian (i've been called that more than once in my lifetime!).

Thanks Bernie de K: I know you can fill pages of info! Maybe 1 day I'll bcome financially indie so I can read all you have 2 say!

I knew throwing a dog bone in the ring would bring out a lot of hungry people. It's sometimes hard 2 B a dog in what people think is their world.

Eric Salsbery said...

I wonder when the world will ever be a place where people can just be themselves?

Remember how resistant to change people were to the right of women to vote? Now we laugh at how silly it was to ever stop them.

Remember the Civil Rights movement? Now our country is on the verge of electing the first black president.

Remember any number of countless resistance to change movements throughout history...

This is no different.
In a few years (maybe decades if people really are that stupid) people will look back on this, one of the last vestiges of legal discrimination in America and wonder just how people could be so afraid of change. Afraid to let people be themselves.

People are we really so narrow minded to think that we can legislate one morality over another?
Have we really come so far with tolerance of human beings, only to fall short on the last hurdle?

Virginia said...

Good point Eric. I have enjoyed the discussion this prompted Petrea. Benjamin Madison (Victoria CDP) has an excellent post today regarding the CDP folks and how we seem to be able to exchange ideas and discuss our differences while keeping cool heads. Hope we can all continue to keep that at the forefront.

Bernie K. said...

Oh, & I just can't resist acknowledging 1916's well-wrought contribution to this little colloquy—if only to say that, if Obama were a socialist, he'd give you his house. G'wan—ask him! He'll tell you "no," & then you can rest easier. No pinkos banging on your door after tomorrow night.

See here.

Cafe Observer said...

P, I just saw an ad from the google on your website proclaiming support marriage rights vote yes on 8!?

Vetty interesting. You people never cease to confound us animals. Just when we think we have y'all understood...

Equal access & equal rights I guess.

I've lived under the traditional definition of marriage. I'm living under the new redefined def from the st supreme judges, and I'll probably be living under some future marriage def as well. Ok. But, I hope it isn't our pets those humans, wanting the right to marry us their masters!!

Now that is going much to far. Talk about marrying down!

Petrea said...

Not only that, C.O., but there was a pro Prop 8 ad at the link Bernie sent me to! Go figure.

Welcome, Eric. What a reasoned response and such a nice blog, too. And Virginia, thanks for sending me to see what Benjamin had to say today. He's a cool guy.

Thanks all for a great discussion yesterday and today. Vote!

Virginia said...

Oh hell yeah, I'm voting righ here in good ole Alabama!

USelaine said...

A comment composed by another person on another blog:

"Prop 8 has little to do with God sanctioned coupling and everything to do with state sanctioned coupling. It is not about being married in the eyes of God. If that were what is was about, then gays could form their own churches and perform their own ceremonies and presto, they would be married. In the eyes of a church. Not in the eyes of the state. And that is what is at issue. Churches that do not accept same sex marriages will continue to not accept same sex marriages and that is the way it works in God’s house. However, the state, by sanctioning the legal ramifications of a union between two individuals whatever their gender, will grant those two individuals rights in medical, financial, and family related arenas same gender couples have in the past been denied. This effects jointly held property, heirs, custody issues, who gets to sign off on medical documents if you are injured and incapacitated, it is essentially about a legal contract recognized by the state. However, everyone likes to mix it up with God. So, problems arise."

Petrea said...

Elaine: exactly. It's not essentially a religious issue, but...

Churches don't have to perform these ceremonies if they don't want to. Even some counties that don't want to won't have to (although legally they can't discriminate, so if they refuse to perform gay marriages they will not be able to perform any marriages).