I'm not Californian. I'm not gay. I'm not all that into the politics of either, yet I find myself compelled to write a little something on Prop 8 out in California.
Unless you live in a cave, you know that it passed. The amendment states "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." I got this from the website http://www.protectmarriage.com/. They are, not surprisingly, all for Prop 8.
Here's the trouble with that whole mess. There is, and should be, a separation of Church and State in our country. We were not founded as a Christian country. Our founding fathers gave us freedom of religion. So to try and define marriage in the courts and in the constitution of our states using religious arguments is a gross violation of the separation of church and state.
I've read arguments on both sides. Both sides have some valid concerns. But the overriding issue of Prop 8 is basic civil rights. To argue that "traditional marriage" will suffer is a fallacy. I have seen no evidence of marriage traditions being hurt depending on who is standing up to be married. Moreover, the argument being made that marriage is only defined by the Bible is a silly argument as well.
Here's why. If we refuse the right of same sex marriage based on the Christian bible, then we must also invalidate any marriage that has taken place in a synagogue, or any Islam based marriage. Or Hindu. And most especially, we must invalidate those God-less souls who were married by a Justice of the Peace. If we state legally that marriage is between one man and one woman, and the evidence of that is from the Christian Bible, then ALL other marriages are illegal other than those performed by a Christian minister, pastor, priest, etc. in a Christian church.
When the state (ie: the people) starts defining marriage, the must leave religion at the door. As such, their argument that "Gays already have all the rights of a married person in a civil union" is also ridiculous. If it quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, for Pete's sake, let's call it a duck! If it's already a marriage, what does it hurt to call it that?
There are also arguments out there stating that if Prop 8 passed, gay marriage would be taught in schools. This argument is so patently absurd, that to believe it one must be seriously mentally deficient. Parents are responsible as to what schools their kids attend. And if they are so put off by the curriculum, there is always the home schooling option. Or Christian schools. Or private schools. All evidence that I could find shows that marriage relationships aren't even taught in California schools. It seems to be a scare tactic used to further the cause.
Lastly, arguments have been brought to my attention that churches and pastors can be sued if they refuse to perform a "gay" wedding. I can't seem to find any evidence of this. It's also a nonsensical argument, as no Catholic church has been successfully sued for refusing to give communion to a non-Catholic. Or for refusing to wed a couple who were not both Catholic. My brother and my best friend both had to convert to Catholicism to marry their beloveds. Both did so willingly to satisfy the Church.
In short, it seems like unless we are willing to pass laws forbidding marriage between anyone but men and women who strictly follow the Christian Bible, we should not deny marriage to anyone who meets the following criteria...
Two people willing to stand before their God (or a state appointed representative) and declare their intent to love, honor, cherish and support each other as long as they both shall live.
Before we outlaw marriage to save "traditional marriage" we should probably fix "traditional marriage". Prop 8 and other propositions like it are a sad reminder that prejudice and ignorance still exist in spades amongst some people.