Why you should vote NO on Proposition 8

I’ve heard that some of my socially conservative friends are voting YES on Prop 8, the proposition that seeks to overturn the California Supreme court’s decision to allow gay marriages. This is my last ditch effort to convince them otherwise. I’m trying the Socratic method of Q &A to see if I can get my argument across.

“Why aren’t they happy with civil unions? Why do they want to call it marriage?”

Contrary to what you may believe, civil unions and domestic partnerships do not confer the same rights as marriage. Defining the contract between two people as marriage (and yes, marriage is a contract) allows the couple to be legally joined in the eyes of the Federal Government, which means they have the same rights as the rest of us when it comes to sponsoring the immigration of a spouse, filing joint tax returns and many other benefits that are available for married couples. Here is a good page on about.com which goes into these differences in detail.

“My kids are going to learn about gay marriage in school.”

This is a stupid smear with about the same amount of credibility as that anti-Obama ad that accused him of promoting sex education in kindergarten. Prop 8 has nothing to do with education and in California, parents have the right to opt their kids out of any education on health and family issues. I know this because the first time the subject of human biology and reproduction came up was when my son was in 5th grade and I was allowed to review all the materials beforehand to decide if it was appropriate.
The incident referred to in the scurrilous ad is as follows – A teacher in Massachusetts read a kid’s book about same sex marriages to her kids in an effort to promote diversity.  After parents objected, a bill was proposed to allow parents to opt out, a law that already exists in California. Notice that the California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association both agree that Prop 8 has nothing to do with teaching in public schools.

“A decision like this should not be taken by the courts but by the people.”

Decisions that have to do with discrimination and equality cannot be taken by majority vote for obvious reasons. The Constitution of this country was founded on equality and over the years, judges have interpreted it in ways that ended discrimination one step at a time. One such decision allowed inter-racial marriages; another allowed African Americans to vote and be a part of the electoral process. If you are voting for Senator Obama for President, ask yourself – would it have been possible today if the courts had waited for the will of the majority to prevail?

“I am concerned that such open acceptance of homosexuality will encourage licentiousness.”

On the contrary, allowing gay people to marry and raise children binds them with the same social mores as the rest of us, encouraging the concept of long-term commitment and family. It lets children grow up in a loving two-parent relationship sanctioned by society that is more stable and harder to get out of, just like the rest of us.

Finally, imagine if the Luce-Celler Act of 1946( look it up) were put up to a vote today. It is within the realms of possibility that furious Americans, upset by the fact that their jobs are going overseas to India and China, could overwhelmingly vote to repeal it. And, if you were an Asian-American, that would be the end of your citizenship in this country.

The right of gays to marry is a right that has already been granted by the courts which recognized discrimination against a segment of the population and sought to correct it. Do not take away that right. As an immigrant, discrimination is an issue that you should be sensitive about and fight to end, even if those discriminated against make you uncomfortable.

Vote NO on Prop 8.

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