Tuesday was a bittersweet emotional rollercoaster ride: the tremendous, contagious joy of watching Barack Obama become our president tempered by the disappointment of seeing Prop. 8 pass in California.
 
I’ve been trying for months to articulate why Prop. 8 bothers me so much. Yes, it’s wrong, but there was something so insidiously hateful about the Yes On 8 campaign: Protect traditional marriage! Protect our families! Protect the CHILDREN!!
 
Protect them from the gays, because they are not like us, we upstanding, wholesome God-fearing people.
 
My family is largely conservative: Catholic on one side, born-again Christian on the other. Growing up, I never felt completely comfortable in any church; I knew I was supposed to believe, but neither faith took hold in my heart. We had to go to church every Sunday whether we wanted to or not. I missed the early mass once when I was fourteen, so my dad dropped me off at the second service by myself. I stood in the vestibule until his car was out of sight, then slipped outside and wandered around the garden for most of the hour.


 
I was sitting on the front steps when he pulled up 50 minutes later. I knew I was in for it, but I didn’t care. We didn’t speak on the way home, and we didn’t have to. My message was clear: I do not choose this.
 
I still had to go to church after that, but when I moved in with my mom six months later, I never had to go to church again, which suited me just fine. Over the years I became more distant from my family, realizing that I had so little in common with these (mostly) good people I’ve loved all my life. I don’t know how it happened, but my values and beliefs took a hard 180 from everything I was taught, and it became increasingly difficult to sit in a room full of people bowing their heads and praising Jesus without wanting to scream.
 
Most of my family likely voted for Prop. 8. It breaks my heart that they feel they should impose their beliefs, their “morality” on everyone, whether they feel the same way or not. There is no “right” religion. If you believe something is wrong, don’t do it.  But why should others, other people who feel differently, be forced to live according to your standards?
 
“But what about the children? If Prop. 8 fails, they’ll be taught about gay marriage and the fabric of society will burst into flames! Flame-y GAY FLAMES!!”
 
No, it won’t, as fabulous as many of us would find it. If Prop. 8 had failed, more people would be able to pledge their love just like everyone else. They wouldn’t be denied a basic human right solely because they happen to love a person of the same gender, because it makes some people uncomfortable.
 
My friend MyrtleBeachBum summed it up best:

“I still don’t get it. I take my marriage seriously, and I’m in it for the long haul. It is a quasi-religious compact to me, in that I consider it a promise to God, J, and myself, but the practical aspects of it are purely government-related: joint tax filings, the right to inherit without a will providing for me, access to the courts to divide our assets and provide for custody of our children if we divorce, etc. Providing others with the same rights in no way diminishes my rights, and if I believe that God doesn’t deem gay marriage a real marriage (I don’t, obviously), that’s between God, me, and my church. And last time I checked, church and state were supposed to be separate.

They have no argument other than hate. Come out and say you have hatred in your heart, but do NOT tell me gay marriage threatens or dimishes your marriage.”

Amen.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???

All right, all right! Here’s what one of them has to say on the subject:

Marriage, six-year-old Nolan Alexander said Friday, is “people falling in love.” It means, he added, “You stay with someone the rest of your life.”

–Contributed by Lipstick Librarian

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