Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Social Conservative Against Proposition 8


Today is the "Write to Marry: Blogswarm for No on 8" which is being sponsored here. Please visit.. and add your own post if you choose to write about this.

So far, I am one of the few social conservatives who has spoken out against Proposition 8.

There are many reasons for that, some are the standard "I know gay folks who are really cool" and "it's wrong to hate" reasons.

Both of those reasons are valid. They're just not the reasons I decided to take a stand against it.

I've never been one to believe personal feelings are necessarily a valid reason to create public policy. I'd rather look at the big picture and try to determine the long range social implications.

Most would agree, I suspect, that marriage creates stability in any society.

Most would agree, I suspect, that three important characteristics of any value system would be courage, character and commitment. That is something that's sorely lacking in this particular society and has been for a long time. Look at the marriage statistics. While I haven't researched it at this very moment, if I'm not mistaken, 50% of marriages result in divorce. That creates a root instability as children grow up without two parents. It has created a cheapened view of commitment, essentially saying "I'm only committed as long as it feels good".

So how in the world does it make sense to tell 10% of the population (perhaps more) that their courage, their character, their commitment to each other, shouldn't be recognized when so many complain about this very same breakdown in social values in traditional marriages?

There seems to be a misconception that gay people are only in relationships for sex and lust. (Actually, that is why I prefer the term "gay" to "homosexual" which implies that it's all about sex.)

Gay people's relationships are the same as straight people's relationships. They love the same way. They fight the same way. They want the same things. They value the same things. They want stability, just like straight people. They want commitment. Just like straight people. They want rights. Just like straight people.

To imply that their relationships are less valid, simply because they are not like "our" relationships (an erroneous belief anyway) can be described in only two ways ~ discrimination and judgement.

It has been said that choices are be made from two foundational feelings: love or fear.

We can choose love ~ or we can choose fear. Discrimination and judgement come from fear. Acceptance and inclusion grow from love?

Which would you rather choose?

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31 comments:

Cecilieaux said...

You're a social conservative? Maybe in California.

MsLittlePea said...

Suebob posted about this today too. I don't live in California but I would have voted no on 8 too, your reasons included among mine. Here(in FL) we have a similar proposal called Amendment 2 which I staunchly voted no and canvassed for others to vote no as well. The many people who I've talked with who were for this amendment were uninformed and would be affected by it because it actually discriminates against any domestic partnership which of course includes hetero-couples just living together and common law spouses. I can't imagine anyone being able to get behind any proposal that discriminates against fellow citizens. I have a feeling many will vote yes on A2 for the sake of "protecting the sanctity of marriage." And as you very well pointed out, with the divorce rate, the "sanctity of marriage" is already under fire by we who are straight.....so who the hell are we to tell a certain group of people, we can get married but you can't, oh and by the way if you're a man and woman living together out of wedlock you also can't provide health insurance for each other either... because that's what our A2 does. With all the problems in the world, the issues we get stuck on still surprises me.

FranIAm said...

Thani you render me speechless with the clarity and power of this post.

Truly brilliant. Thank you!

Anvilcloud said...

As you know some of my dearly beloved are Gay, so I thank you, Channi.

Choralgirl said...

Love your post; love the Alice Walker quote on your comments page, too. :-) Thank you!

ewe are here said...

Exactly. You've nailed this one exactly. And I so hope people realize these things before they vote. The proposition just seems so hateful.


Acceptance and inclusion, please

Border Explorer said...

Here's another vote for love. Beautiful post, Chani. And, do you consider yourself a social conservative? Maybe more a radical, in the "root" sense of the word...?

Carol said...

You said it beautifully.

Thanks.

Molly said...

I don't think that because I support the traditional idea of marriage as being between a man and a woman that I should be branded a hate-monger.I have friends, and even a relative or two, who are gay. I love them as much as the others.....I think it's really a problem of semantics, without being fully informed about the political and financial ramifications.......I totally agree that everyone has a need to love and be loved. The world should not have to turn time-honoured traditions on their heads though, so a few can feel included. People can forge their own alliances with those they love without usurping the name "marriage." I should stop now before you stone me.....

Vikki said...

Thanks for putting this out there. Well said.

citizen of the world said...

It's beyond me why people get so worked up about the gender of people entering into a committed life together. Marriage is an exercise in optimism and love, a public expression of two adults devotion to each other - what could be wrong with that? And I'm in favor of giving all consenting adults that right. There's no guarantee, straight or gay, that any couple will make it for a lifetime, but I applaud people who make that leap of faith.

A side point - having been both married and divorced, I'd argue that the ending of a marriage does not always reflect a lack of courage, character, or commmitment. I was married to a very good man for almost 20 years, and we reamin deeply committed to the well-being of our children. For reasons that are our own, we did not stay married. I don't think you can assume that we have a "I'll stay married as long as it feels good" approach.

thailandchani said...

C, believe it or not, I'm actually in alignment with a lot of socially conservative ideas. I'm just not in alignment with this one. :)

And you're right. A social conservative in California would be defined very differently than one in some other regions.

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MsPea, I think a lot of the disconnect is occurring because it's an emotionally charged issue. That's part of the reason why I've tried to present it the way I have. More dispassionately.

Those who are in favor of it aren't hateful human beings. They're defending a social custom.

I'm just saying that perhaps it's time to examine that social custom.

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Fran, thank you! :)

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Anvil, you're welcome. I really am all about inclusion. It just makes no sense to me on any level to exclude entire segments of the population because they don't fit into the narrow definitions created by dominant culture.

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Choralgirl, thanks. Your post on this was really good. It is just about being free to participate.

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Ewe, I agree.. but I don't think it's based on hate. I think it's based on fear.

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BE, yes.. I am radical in this culture. In my chosen culture, I'm not. I do believe there are certain standards of behavior that need to be socially enforced. In this case though, the wrong fundamental value is being enforced.

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Carol... :) Thanks.

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Molly, I would never stone you. Nor would I allow anyone else to stone you in this space.

I can understand your position.. and might even be able to agree IF... (and this is a big IF), certain social benefits and economic benefits were not allowed, purely on the basis of being married. The domestic partnership laws don't even scratch the surface.

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thailandchani said...

Vikki, thanks. :)

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Citizen, I like your description. A lot! It is an exercise in optimism. Funny I hadn't made that link previously but I can see what you're saying.

In order to make a point, sometimes I do have to generalize. It's not about any individual or individuals. I suspect you'd agree that the overriding principle in this culture is self-interest. The dominant view is that people do what's best for them, regardless of the outcome. As the zeitmotif is more utilitarian, people are more disposable. That is where the generalization comes from.

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thailandchani said...

Typo correction: Obviously, I meant "leitmotif".

I don't know where those little "garbage can" icons have gone, the one that would allow me to make a correction.

(sigh)

Amy Y said...

I wanted to touch a bit on Molly's comment (not stoning, promise). If it's a matter of semantics, then why does it matter if gay people are allowed to be "married" rather than having a "civil union"? A lot of people define marriage as a union recognized by a god but if I have no belief in any gods, should I still be married? Even if it's to the opposite sex? It is semantics and I think that all people should be able to be married if they'd like to be... regardless of sex or religion or anything else. Especially since that's the only way to guarantee equal rights...
Just my two cents :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am opposed to anything that marginalizes people and gives them less freedom and power under the law.

It seems absurd to me that some straight people are afraid that allowing gays to marry somehow invalidates their own unions.

Why does anyone care if the word "marriage" is used to define and legitimize a relationship which in its qualities IS in fact exactly that?

Whatever happened to "live and let live?"

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes, I made the same point that gay marriage can only add to society's stability.

flutter said...

I don't think the government should be involved in marriage. I am all for making marriage equal for all, or doing away with the institution all together and having everything be a civil union.

SUEB0B said...

I am for gay marriage for a personal reason. I feel like getting married as a straight person when gay people can't would be like eating at the lunch counter as a white person when black people couldn't. So I vowed not to get married til everyone could. I am 47 years old! I want to get married! Make gay marriage legal, and help this old, straight spinster!

thailandchani said...

Amy, you make an interesting point. Perhaps Molly will be back to comment again.

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Susan, "live and let live" is really scary for people in fear.

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Ruth, I really liked your post today! Others can click on your link and be taken to your blog so they can read it, too! :)

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Flutter, you make an interesting point, too. Secularizing it entirely might end up being the answer in the long run.

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Suebob, I hear you there! :) Read you? Oh, well. You know what I mean! I really admire the fact that you would see it as you do.. and that you would stand by that.


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The Ghost said...

Straight to the point, all gays should be castrated. Waste of time attempting writing shite like this.

Rhea said...

Bravo!

womaninawindow said...

Chani, it will take revolutionary ideas to change this western world. Revolutionary ideas such as common sense. It totally escapes me why one person believes their exclusive ideas are better than anyone else's inclusive ideas. My mind struggles to understand them. I wish their minds struggled to understand anything else.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

We are all supposed to be equal under the law. Not allowing 10% of our population, and maybe more importantly, the CHILDREN of that 10% the right to equal protection under the law in the form of an institution that is universally recognized (where as "civil partnerships", etc., may not be) is just plain wrong.

I loved your post.

More power to anyone who maintains and works at a committed relationship in this society. They all deserve to be recognized.

Defiantmuse said...

This is a very personal issue for me. My father and his husband are already discussing moving abroad if Yes on 8 passes...I listen to the arguments from the other side but for me they hold no weight. I think the one that bothered me the most was that "marriage" is for the purpose of procreation. Well, many flaws with that one obviously. Like all the straight people who choose not to or can't have children. Or the straight people who have children but choose not to marry, etc.

My (male) partner and I choose not to marry yet we have a child. I am bisexual and although I chose to love a man and share my life with him I could just have easily chosen a woman to be with. And although I have no desire to marry anyone, man or woman, I feel that I should have the choice to marry either if I so wanted.

Naomi said...

Such a wonderful post--which came to me only because you visited mine! Your commenters are fascinating and I admire your ease in responding. My wish for you is very few of the angry ones in the future.

thailandchani said...

TheGhost, put down the beer and get a brain.

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Rhea, thanks. :)

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Erin, I know it will take something absolutely radical happening... and not just all the typed words of one blogger.. like me. I struggle with this a lot because it does feel like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon but we have to keep on anyway. Maybe there's a heart or a mind that wants to be changed.

Western culture is a hard, hard nut to crack.

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Jen, I agree with all you've said. I admire people who can make a commitment like that and stick to it. As a complete commitment-phobe, I really DO admire it! :)

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Muse, I agree with you, too. It's all about having choices.

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Naomi, thanks for coming by.. and for leaving a comment. I do enjoy interacting with people who come by. Occasionally an angry one gets by... and the guy from Pattaya would have been deleted if the trash icon was present. You won't typically find that kind of thing here.

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Brandi said...

a-freaking-men.

that's all I got.

painted maypole said...

as you know, i choose love.

last week I donated to no on prop 8 in honor of two friends who just married in CA

thailandchani said...

Brandi, that's a lot! :)


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PM, I choose love, too.. even though there are times when it's hard. This time isn't hard - but carrying the principle to its logical conclusion makes it challenging. :)

Glad you donated! There's quite a drive going on here now.


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Rebecca said...

Exquisite post, Chani, as always.