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October 29, 2008

California’s Prop 8 — Religious extremism hard at work

I’m a straight woman, married for 25 years now, and I’m shocked and disgusted by the religious fervor ripping across my home state in favor of Proposition 8, which would pass a state constitutional amendment eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry.

I don’t understand why anyone considers it any of their business whether two other consenting adults decide to marry. I consider marriage a basic right, something we all take for granted from the time we’re small children — that when we grow up we can find someone to love who loves us, and we can marry that person.

I’m not anti-religion, but this stuff is scary! The scariest thing is that it’s happening in my home town:

The Call, California (video link found at: http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/content/thecall)

I don’t know of any gay person who would deny religious people the right to practice their religions as they see fit. Yet these religious people are attempting to tell others who they can marry, as well as, it’s clear to me, telling the rest of us in California what our religious as well as political views about marriage should be. I find that presumption offensive.

A same-sex couple marrying in no way threatens the sanctity of my, or anyone else’s, marriage.

File: — Barbara @ 3:24 pm PST, 10/29/08

10 Comments

  1. Bev says:

    Hear! Hear! My sentiments exactly. I’ve had two husbands,
    but they maybe shoulda been outlawed. :-) It’s really NOT
    fair. What happened to civil rights? What happened to CA,
    the liberal state? It’s shocking.

  2. Marion says:

    I was so surprised to hear the outcome…how terribly unjust. You’ve expressed my thoughts so well.

  3. Bev Jackson says:

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, Barbara! I got a note from
    Sarah Bates the other day ~~~ voices from the past!

    Thinking of you,

    Love,
    Bev

  4. Lee says:

    Barbara, I have had (and still have!) quite a few gay friends during my life. They’re lovely people, but I feel what they do sexually goes against nature. I think marriage is best kept between a biological male and female, as it was primarily (and originally) designed to create a secure emotional and physical environment in which to rear children. I’m all for ‘marriage’ to be kept in its original state. If gay couples want some kind of legal recognition of the financial and asset sharing aspects of the their relationship, and a party to share with friends and family, why not? But let’s not PLEASE make homosexuality A LIFE CHOICE. It isn’t. It’s a psychological imbalance, and taken to its extreme in nature, would mean the human population would be wiped out eventually. Nature procreates, evolves, and reproduces. Homosexuality in the animal kingdom does happen, though RARELY. In our oh-so-politically correct and intellectually enlightened human state, we are making these anomalies almost desirable. By the way – I’m not at all religious. I just respect Nature!

    Lee

  5. Barbara says:

    Lee, a lot of what the human race as a whole does goes against nature, such as destroying rain forests, depleting the ozone, killing off entire species or even human races, causing rapid climate change, overpopulating to a point that the planet can’t keep all its natural ecosystems going because people get in its way.

    I’d love to see those unnatural effects of humanity end, so nature can get back to its business. I’m not sure I see how anyone being homosexual gets in the way of nature, in an of itself.

    On the other hand, as human nature goes, homosexuality has been around forever, and it’s not going to go away because you or anyone else think it’s unnatural — because it is, apparently, a natural variation in our psyches. There are likely a lot more gays in the world than there are redheads, so I’m less natural than a gay person, if we’re going by numbers as how we define “normal”. Is that what you’re going by?

    Defining normal based on oneself and one’s own life seems an inherently self-absorbed thing to do, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what is behind most forms of racism and other bigotry that exists in the world?

    But let’s say for a moment that it’s not natural. Would you say that someone getting a spinal injury and winding up in a wheelchair is also not natural? Would you deny such a person the right to marry? If someone is bi-polar or diabetic, should they not be allowed to marry? What about a genius level IQ? Should people who are smarter than normal be prohibited from marrying?

    Either way you define homosexuality, as normal or not, in my opinion has nothing to do with whether someone should be allowed to marry. Heterosexual couples with genetic disorders marry and have children all the time. Less people seem to have a problem with that than with same-sex couples marrying, and I find that just, well, bigoted. It’s also patently unjust, and in my opinion a violation of same-sex couples’ civil rights.

    By the way, last I checked, unlike many other unfortunate species on the planet, the human race is in no danger of being wiped out — unless it destroys itself with nuclear war or by poisoning its own water and food supplies, which are both more likely to happen than any depletion in the population due to the legalization of same-sex marriage. By the way, homosexuality doesn’t mean someone is infertile. As far as a safe and secure environment in which to raise children, if we were to deny the right to marry based on that, there would be a lot less married hetero couples than there are today. Poverty, cruelty, addiction, domestic violence, and other criminal behavior that lands one parent behind bars, as well as divorce, cause plenty of insecurity for children. That has nothing to do with whether children’s parents are gay or not.

    None of what you’ve said, even if true, is a just reason to deny any two consenting adults the right to marry.

  6. Lee says:

    Barbara, in answer to your post –

    “Lee, a lot of what the human race as a whole does goes against nature, such as destroying rain forests, depleting the ozone, killing off entire species or even human races, causing rapid climate change, overpopulating to a point that the planet can’t keep all its natural ecosystems going because people get in its way.”

    Aggression is a primary ‘natural’ instinct all humans have. We wouldn’t have survived without it. Nature is very cruel and very aggressive at times. Seen a tornado lately? Earthquake?

    “I’d love to see those unnatural effects of humanity end, so nature can get back to its business. I’m not sure I see how anyone being homosexual gets in the way of nature, in an of itself.”

    As I said above, aggression is a natural instinct we all have.

    On the other hand, as human nature goes, homosexuality has been around forever, and it’s not going to go away because you or anyone else think it’s unnatural — because it is, apparently, a natural variation in our psyches.

    Oh – do you know that? How?

    There are likely a lot more gays in the world than there are redheads, so I’m less natural than a gay person, if we’re going by numbers as how we define “normal”. Is that what you’re going by?

    You seem to be assuming that homosexuality is genetic, like being a redhead. Is that right? Is there a gay gene I don’t know about?

    Defining normal based on oneself and one’s own life seems an inherently self-absorbed thing to do, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what is behind most forms of racism and other bigotry that exists in the world?

    Another assumption on your part Barbara.

    But let’s say for a moment that it’s not natural. Would you say that someone getting a spinal injury and winding up in a wheelchair is also not natural?

    The term natural is incorrect here – getting a spinal injury would have to be a tragic accident. You seem to be trying unsuccessfully to shore up your argument with irrelevent examples!

    Would you deny such a person the right to marry? If someone is bi-polar or diabetic, should they not be allowed to marry? What about a genius level IQ? Should people who are smarter than normal be prohibited from marrying?

    Ditto above.

    Either way you define homosexuality, as normal or not, in my opinion has nothing to do with whether someone should be allowed to marry. Heterosexual couples with genetic disorders marry and have children all the time. Less people seem to have a problem with that than with same-sex couples marrying, and I find that just, well, bigoted. It’s also patently unjust, and in my opinion a violation of same-sex couples’ civil rights.

    So continuing your line of thinking, where does it end? Is marriage between siblings okay? Father and daughter? Brothers? Son & mother? Where do you draw the line? Surely (in your view) those unions should be okay, yes?

    By the way, last I checked, unlike many other unfortunate species on the planet, the human race is in no danger of being wiped out — unless it destroys itself with nuclear war or by poisoning its own water and food supplies, which are both more likely to happen than any depletion in the population due to the legalization of same-sex marriage. By the way, homosexuality doesn’t mean someone is infertile.

    No – it just means that they can use IVF to procreate and then bring up these kids in a very unbalanced household! Great. It will be interesting to see the fallout from this in 15 years or so.

    As far as a safe and secure environment in which to raise children, if we were to deny the right to marry based on that, there would be a lot less married hetero couples than there are today. Poverty, cruelty, addiction, domestic violence, and other criminal behavior that lands one parent behind bars, as well as divorce, cause plenty of insecurity for children. That has nothing to do with whether children’s parents are gay or not.

    None of what you’ve said, even if true, is a just reason to deny any two consenting adults the right to marry.

    You seem to be stuck on the ‘Marry” word. I said there is absolutely nothing to stop them signing legal documents in order to share their assets, as a married couple by the act of marrying each other, (automatically) attain that right.

    For me, it’s about union of opposites. A man and a man produce nothing. A woman and a woman produce nothing. A man and a woman produce a child. It’s nature, it’s bloody simple, and it works. Let them use another name for the union they want to have, but don’t call it marriage, because it isn’t.

  7. Barbara says:

    Lee, you responded to my comment:

    Barbara: On the other hand, as human nature goes, homosexuality has been around forever, and it’s not going to go away because you or anyone else think it’s unnatural — because it is, apparently, a natural variation in our psyches.

    Lee: Oh – do you know that? How?


    That was my opinion, based on what I’ve read. According to the American Psychological Association FAQ page on sexual orientation:

    “What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation?

    “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”


    Barbara: There are likely a lot more gays in the world than there are redheads, so I’m less natural than a gay person, if we’re going by numbers as how we define “normal”. Is that what you’re going by?

    Lee: You seem to be assuming that homosexuality is genetic, like being a redhead. Is that right? Is there a gay gene I don’t know about?


    No, I’m not saying it’s genetic, I’m saying it’s as normal as red hair, if we’re to judge “normal” by statistics. I was questioning how you define “natural”. What do you consider natural? Is it about numbers, statistics, expert opinions, or your own personal belief? I believe you’ve answered that, in part, toward the end of your latest comment. As for statistics on redhead percentages in the population, see Wikipedia: Red Hair:

    “Redheads constitute approximately four percent of the European population . . . In the United States, anywhere from two to six percent of the population is estimated to have red hair.”

    For gay percentages in the population, the numbers are more difficult to pin down, but you might be interested in Wikipedia: Demographics of Sexual Orientation.

    Barbara: Defining normal based on oneself and one’s own life seems an inherently self-absorbed thing to do, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what is behind most forms of racism and other bigotry that exists in the world?

    Lee: Another assumption on your part Barbara.


    Call it assumption or opinion. Your choice.

    Barbara: But let’s say for a moment that it’s not natural. Would you say that someone getting a spinal injury and winding up in a wheelchair is also not natural?

    Lee: The term natural is incorrect here – getting a spinal injury would have to be a tragic accident. You seem to be trying unsuccessfully to shore up your argument with irrelevent examples!


    I was again testing your basis for your argument against same-sex marriage. You wrote that you don’t consider homosexuality natural, and you give that as the reason you don’t think same-sex marriage should be legal. Are you saying now that’s not a valid basis for your argument? I would agree, it’s not a valid basis for determining whether people should be allowed to marry.

    Barbara: Either way you define homosexuality, as normal or not, in my opinion has nothing to do with whether someone should be allowed to marry. Heterosexual couples with genetic disorders marry and have children all the time. Less people seem to have a problem with that than with same-sex couples marrying, and I find that just, well, bigoted. It’s also patently unjust, and in my opinion a violation of same-sex couples’ civil rights.

    Lee: So continuing your line of thinking, where does it end? Is marriage between siblings okay? Father and daughter? Brothers? Son & mother? Where do you draw the line? Surely (in your view) those unions should be okay, yes?


    You’re deliberately misconstruing my words and taking off into what you just called irrelevancies.

    Barbara: By the way, homosexuality doesn’t mean someone is infertile.

    Lee: No – it just means that they can use IVF to procreate and then bring up these kids in a very unbalanced household! Great. It will be interesting to see the fallout from this in 15 years or so.


    You should be able to see the “fallout” already if you have a discussion with some of the gay or lesbian friends you mentioned in your first comment:

    Lee: Barbara, I have had (and still have!) quite a few gay friends during my life. They’re lovely people, but


    Gay and lesbian couples have been parenting for a long time. They haven’t waited for marriage to be made legal for them. If you bother to search, you can probably locate some adults raised in gay households, to talk to and get the story directly from them. I don’t see why in vitro would be necessary. Sperm banks have been around for decades, much longer than IVF has been common, and surrogate motherhood has existed for ages. It’s even mentioned in the Bible, if memory serves.

    Lee: You seem to be stuck on the ‘Marry” word. I said there is absolutely nothing to stop them signing legal documents in order to share their assets, as a married couple by the act of marrying each other, (automatically) attain that right.


    I would argue that it’s the opponents of civil rights for same-sex couples that are stuck on the “marry” word. No, there’s nothing stopping same-sex couples, in many places, from entering into civil unions not legally defined as marriage. But why are opponents stuck on not calling that marriage, if it truly offers the same privileges and rights? Again, I suggest that you ask your gay friends whether they consider civil union the same as marriage. Our culture more readily accepts a married couple as heads of a family, and as a fully committed couple. The word marriage offers children of same-sex couples a more secure and normalized, socially acceptable way of relating to other children in discussions about family. You say you think children need a “secure emotional and physical environment” and yet you would deny them the emotional security of having married parents if their parents happen to be gay.

    Lee: For me, it’s about union of opposites. A man and a man produce nothing. A woman and a woman produce nothing. A man and a woman produce a child. It’s nature, it’s bloody simple, and it works. Let them use another name for the union they want to have, but don’t call it marriage, because it isn’t.


    Well you just invalidated marriage for a lot of people other than same-sex couples, if the production of children is your sole basis for marriage, including me in spite of the fact that I’ve been legally married for 25 years. Not only that, you’re contradicting your own words, quoted above as regards IVF. Do you define marriage only as a union that produces children? And do you require that those children come about by proscribed fertilization methods? What about adoption? You said earlier, putting your remarks about children in context:

    Lee: I think marriage is best kept between a biological male and female, as it was primarily (and originally) designed to create a secure emotional and physical environment in which to rear children. I’m all for ‘marriage’ to be kept in its original state.


    Its original state? No one really knows what that is for humankind as a whole. The definition of marriage varies from era to era and from culture to culture. Again, you’re using your definition, which happens to closely match the religious definition.

    Sorry, Lee, but I think you have little understanding of either the history of marriage as an institution, or of what it has come to mean to modern couples on the whole in the past 200 years. You seem to insist that your personal definition of marriage, wherever it comes from, should serve everyone as a legal definition, even though it excludes some people who should have every right to marry, as responsible adult citizens covered under the basic rights of the Constitution. How different is what you’re doing from someone pushing their religious beliefs about marriage onto the civil or legal institution? You say same-sex marriage isn’t natural. The definition of “natural” as pertains to intimate relations is a very personal thing, and fed into by cultural norms and taboos embedded into our culture, many of which are religious, whether we espouse their religious sources or not.

    I’ll leave this (rather ridiculous now) discussion with a suggestion that you read about what’s considered natural in human partnering by some others, and something about marriage as an institution, historically and in more recent times. I certainly don’t claim to know it all either, and I also prefer what feels normal and natural to me in my personal relationships. The difference between us is, I don’t insist that everyone live as I do.

    Here are a few links you might find interesting:

    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Philosophy of Sexuality

    Wikipedia: Marriage

    Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology: History of Marriage in Western Civilization

    Psychology Today: Marriage, A History

    Washington Blade: Anthropologists debunk ‘traditional marriage’ claim

    Anthropology News: Gay Marriage and Anthropology

    UC Davis Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health

    Here are some links to ponder regarding the issue addressed in my original post. Lee, you might find it interesting how closely your definition of marriage matches the Catholic Church’s, regardless of your claim to no religion:

    LA Times Opinion Blog: What is marriage, exactly?

    UPDATE: Ballot Initiative to Protect Marriage Receives Endorsement of California Catholic Conference

    And here’s a bit about some of the junk science floating around regarding homosexuality, which also, if you do a bit of research, holds some similarities to what you’ve said, especially your statement that homosexuality is a psychological imbalance:

    Southern Poverty Law Center: Intelligence Report: Garbage in, garbage out

  8. Lee says:

    Barbara, do you ever use your right brain? ;)

  9. Barbara says:

    Lee, short answer: Yes. If you read through the rest of my blog, I think you’ll see that. I have to keep my very strong emotions out of this issue, in order to remain coherent about it, so maybe I overcompensate with more left-brained argument than is necessary.

  10. Lee says:

    Fair comment. It is a difficult issue and certainly causes heated debate. Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this. Thanks for a good ‘meaty’ argument that I hope got us both thinking!


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