Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Proposition 8 is "mean-spirited''

I missed this editorial in Sunday's New York Times, but it's pretty terrific for the way it gets to the core of the argument in favor of marriage equality.

The Times is urging California residents to vote "No" in November on Proposition 8, which would amend the state Constitution to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The ballot measure would overturn May's state Supreme Court ruling that enabled gay and lesbian couples to marry.

(The Times also notes that similar discriminatory measures are on the ballot in Arizona and Florida, and says that they also should be rejected.)

Here's the key paragraph from the editorial:

"Opponents of giving gay couples the protections, dignity and respect that come with marriage are working furiously to try to overturn the court ruling through Proposition 8. It is our fervent hope that Californians will reject this mean-spirited attempt to embed second-class treatment of one group of citizens in the State Constitution."

In its news articles, the Times can sometimes be a little dense and wordy. But the editorial gets to the point succinctly: this is about protection, dignity and respect. And the ballot question is mean-spirited. While I don't live in California, as an American, I don't want to see anyone's civil rights taken away or any group of people treated as second-class citizens.

And this part made me smile because it's so matter of fact in the way it states what should be perfectly obvious but needs to be said anyway:

"The proponents of Proposition 8 make the familiar claim that legalizing same-sex marriage undercuts marriage between men and women. But thousands of gay and lesbian couples have been married in California since the May ruling and marriage remains intact."

Although the Times doesn't mention it, just for the record, I'm pretty sure the sky hasn't fallen in California either.

While there have been some high-profile weddings in California, I think what's most interesting, and crucial, is to read the stories of couples who aren't celebrities but just normal, everyday people - your neighbors or friends or coworkers or family members.

So, just in case you're a California voter and you happen to stumble across my blog, please read about these couples who've tied the knot in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal since 2004. (And where heterosexual marriage remains intact!) While you won't recognize their names, I'm sure their stories will resonate.

And at The Wicked Stage, Rob Weinert-Kendt has posted a sweet two-minute anti-anti-gay-marriage proposition video by Dave Barton from Rude Guerrilla Theater Company in Santa Ana, Calif., that also gets to the heart of the matter. (I'll definitely be adding Rude Guerrilla to my list of clever theatre names.)

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