A few words about Proposition 8

First, let me apologize for not covering this story much, much earlier. My attention was on the presidential race and on several races here in North Carolina. Proposition eight was a proposal to ban same-sex marriages. Remember, in California, same-sex marriage was legal. So, a right has been taken away.

When you listen to the rhetoric of those who oppose same-sex marriage, it sounds frighteningly similar to the rhetoric of those who opposed integration of the races.They talked about these classic institutions that would collapse if blacks were allowed to marry whites (and in some states blacks to marry blacks).

I’m not sure why we are so resistant to doing the right thing. Just think about our history and how at every step of the way there has always been significant resistance to doing the right thing. Consider when women were fighting for the right to vote. Why was there such resistance? All men and women should be treated equally under the law. It is mind-boggling that there was such contention. With gay marriage again we see the resistance. It is not hard for us to see what is the right thing to do.

For those who object on religious grounds, let me say this: civil rights, too, were strongly objected to on religious grounds. If you and your church do not want to include homosexual marriages as part of your congregation then that is your right. It is not your right to prevent others from getting married in a civil ceremony. I’m extremely disappointed in so many religious leaders who came out, as it were, in favor of this proposition.

Gay marriage will happen. It will happen within our lifetime because it has to happen. We can not, must not, formally discriminate against any group. We simply can’t.

Finally, I am not worried about the institution of marriage. I’m also not worried about my own marriage. My own marriage will fail or survive based on my actions and the actions of my wife. If a gay couple moves in across the street the strength of our relationship will not be changed. My wife and I love each other. Our love is not based on whether or not a gay couple lives across street. So, if a marriage does break up because a gay couple moves in the neighborhood, there was something else wrong with that relationship before the new neighbors arrived. America, it is time for us to stand up, once again, and do the right thing.

0 Responses

  1. Inevitable? So far, these amendments are 30 for 30. This reminds me of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) battle in the 1970’s which was eventually defeated with 1 state left needed for ratification. I guess, if you assume it’s inevitable, you must be counting on the courts. If 4 more states pass amendments defining marriage as only one man, one woman, that’s enough for a proposed constitutional amendment.

    Here’s a simple proposal. Get the government out of the marriage business. Drop the marriage license. Why is it necessary? People have and still do get married (make a commitment) to each other without the need for a marriage license.

    In a multicultural world, with various ideas about marriage- same sex, polygamy, cousin marriage etc., the state should remove itself.

    Just a note: the Antimiscegenation laws and their revocation weren’t about redefining marriage. No cultural or religious institution had defined marriage to exclude interracial marriage any more than current definitions of marriage exclude a brother and sister. Making a law against African American and Caucasians marrying or a law against a siblings marrying is recognition that such conjugal relationships (ie marriages) are possible. On the other hand, no state has made a law against same sex couple marrying per se because no one has ever seen that relationship as a conjugal relationship.

  2. ET/Oberman: “When you listen to the rhetoric of those who oppose same-sex marriage, it sounds frighteningly similar to the rhetoric of those who opposed integration of the races. They talked about these classic institutions that would collapse if blacks were allowed to marry whites (and in some states blacks to marry blacks).”

    The antimiscegation laws were part of the eugenics and racial hygiene movement. Progressives like Woodrow Wilson, Holmes and Sanger supported theses laws not because they thought that the institution of marriage was threatened but because they belied that the country could not support the product of these marriages. They were against the children whom they saw as defective. Hence, this movement coincided with forced sterilization.

    Of course, in Germany, Hitler didn’t even care about marriage and in fact sought to destroy marriage. The antimiscegenation laws in Germany were part of their eugenic program.

    So, I think Mr. Oberman’s misunderstands the meaning of institution as used by the progressives, supremacists and others like Hitler. They were concern with the country and their programs being overwhelmed by the hordes of the “genetically inferior” (Jews, Blacks, imbeciles, etc) as oppose to the destruction of marriage.

  3. Being a member of the Mormon church i was appalled by the fact that the church would instruct its members to put all their effort in supporting this proposition. It didn’t effect their religion. The church makes up its own rules as to whom can be sealed in its temples. But they instructed members and donated millions of dollars to the campaign.
    The members are then torn between supporting their gay friends and doing what is right for all and listening to the apostles of the church. If they don’t support the churchs instructions then they can be considered not to be faithful and not able to get a Temple Recommend I really praise the members that knew this was a wrong decision and spoke their minds. The mormons are a tight nit group and the heartache they will go through for their actions.

  4. TCB –

    The Virginia judge that convicted the Lovings said, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” When you read some of the testimony it is clear that there was an underlying religious message that mixing of the races was against God’s will (like we know God’s will).

    I would add that many of the laws that we take for granted now were fought in the streets of New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and other major metro areas around the country. Women’s right to vote. Civil rights. The average American had to have a court order before he/she did the right thing.

    Again, I appreciate your thoughts.

  5. Don’t really see the how your quote argues against anything I said. My main point was that no one ever suggested that marriage or (more accurately) the popular understanding of marriage was threatened by miscegenation. In the quote that you cited, there is no mention of any institution collapsing. To argue that the fight against anti-miscegenation laws was merely an effort to extend the boundaries of marriage misses the point.

    The Wikipedia article about the Racial Integrity Act (the law overturned by Loving) illustrates that this law was part of a progressive program to impose eugenics on the country and not about the institution of marriage. Here is a brief background from Wikipedia:

    “On March 20, 1924 the Virginia Legislature (United States) passed two closely related eugenics laws: SB 219, entitled “The Racial Integrity Act[1]” and SB 281, “An ACT to provide for the sexual sterilization of inmates of State institutions in certain cases”, henceforth referred to as “The Sterilization Act”.

    The Racial Integrity Act required that a racial description of every person be recorded at birth, and felonized marriage between white persons and non-white persons. The law was the most famous ban on miscegenation (anti-miscegenation law) in the United States, and was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, in Loving v. Virginia.

    Together these laws imposed the practice of “scientific eugenics” in the Commonwealth.”

    Me: True some preachers argued for eugenics and some (most notably the Catholic Church) against eugenics. I guess their agrguments could sound similar. The argument could sound similar to abortion or even immigration, if one believes that all religious rhetoric is the same.

    Otherwise, the comparison is apples and oranges.

  6. ECT: I would add that many of the laws that we take for granted now were fought in the streets of New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and other major metro areas around the country. Women’s right to vote. Civil rights. The average American had to have a court order before he/she did the right thing.

    Not much faith in democracy.

    State legislatures did pass amendments ending slavery and giving women the right to vote. The Congress did pass the Civill Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

    OTH, the courts also gave us Dred Scot (extending slavery) and Plessy (enshrining Jim Crow laws).

  7. In response to Margaret:

    The Mormon church wasn’t concerned about gay marriage per se, but they WERE worried about what passing Prop 8 would mean to Mormon churches in California.

    What happens if Prop 8 passes, and the Mormon (and Catholic, for that matter) church refuses to marry a gay couple? Would they be in violation of the law?

    Further, isn’t governmental interference in the church’s practices contrary to the idea that there is a very bright line separating church and state? What happens when a gay couple WANTS to get married in a church? Would a priest have to marry them, or be thrown in jail?

    Frankly, I have no opinion on gay unions. What they do in their own homes is their business, it has nothing to do with me. However, the majority of Californians decided that Prop 8 wasn’t for them, and now the supporters are fighting it in the courts. Which is, of course, silly, because the liberal bench in California (and the Federal 9th Circuit, as well) will almost certainly fall on the side of the Prop 8 supporters, in direct opposition of the voice of the people.

    If this does happen, it is a CLEAR violation of the separation of powers delineated in the US Constitution. The Judicial system is designed to interpret laws as written, and nothing more. To have the Supreme Court of California rule against the people is completely antithetical to having three separate branches of government.

    The people voted against it. How can government tell the people that it serves that they are wrong?

  8. Wow, from reading just the beginning of your response to prop 8 it sounds like you really have not read up on anything at all. It’s funny that you all say that Prop 8 is “hate” and that the people who voted for it or supported those who voted for it are wrong and discriminating, when all the supporters of Prop 8 are getting is hate and discrimination right back. They are not discriminating against anyone. Homosexuals have the exact same rights as married people have. Why does it matter if they can call themselves married or not? If they truly love each other then why is saying, “We are married” going to change anything? You guys aren’t looking in the future when you make this argument. You are not looking at the consequences of this proposition not passing are going to be. The impact it is going to have for churches with discrimination law suits. And don’t you darn begin to argue that it’s not going to happen, because it already it. Doctors are being sued by homosexuals for not performing fertilization for them BECAUSE THEY CANT REPRODUCE THEMSELVES, adoption agencies are being sued for not providing services to homosexuals. You say they aren’t going to affect anything and anyone. Yeah right. If marriage is redefined and anything, then with the law these people can, will and are doing right now reek havoc on our civilization. So don’t get on your soap box and tell everyone how wrong they are and how righteous you are. Outrage, the majority of the people of California have spoken, TWICE mind you. Corrupt government overturned the people once and the people will keep on fighting to keep their voices heard. Other states voted on this same type of thing and it pass in those states too!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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