I am made so sad by the California decision on prop 8. It's not my state, it's not my country, even, but it's a state that many people think of as a land full of loosey-goosey liberals types, a place for people who find other areas too constraining, and for a state with that kind of reputation to uphold this ban on gay marriage can only say to other, more conservative states that even the more "open" states think it's not okay. And it is. It's okay. It's more than okay. It's love, and shouldn't we support that, celebrate that? Shouldn't we say that anyone who is willing to take on another person, look past their flaws and human foibles and promise to love them and make their little part of the world a better place, shouldn't we applaud that?
There have been lots of people talking about their take on gay marriage as the vote and then the court challenge have moved along, with lots of different reasons why they think gay marriage should not be granted. The religious arguments, I don't agree should have a place in this age, even though America is a country where religion has long been embroiled in politics much more tightly than should be according to the theory of government embraced in their own founding documents. The fact is, we live in an increasingly secular time, at a time when more and more religions are represented among the populace of any one country, and to give over control to one set of religious beliefs is a little dangerous at any time, but in today's society is also allowing a smaller than ever slice of the populace to decide for the rest. Not only unfair, but also a little scary. There is perfectly good reason for the supposed separation of church and state.
Some people argue that it is tradition, convention, that a marriage be between and man and woman. True. It is also convention and tradition that women stay at home and raise children, that parents have a say in whom their children marry, that better schools are for the rich alone, that fathers can beat their children and teachers apply the ruler or paddle. It has been the way of human evolution for milennia now that old ideas and practices give way to new ones, sometimes based on new discoveries, sometimes based on societal shifts, and yes, there has always been resistance, but eventually, the last few people to hold onto the old ideas are labeled bigots and hatemongers. I think we have come to that point on this issue, and it is time to stand up and say that gay people are no different, deserve no less, and that yes, society has opened its eyes and hearts to that by now. It's been quite long enough coming.
And finally, those who argue that allowing gay marriage will somehow diminish their traditional marriage... This one, I just simply don't understand. How does it do that? Just by exisiting? Do you feel the same about marriages that were once considered different or unusual - marriages between people of different races or religions? Does anything that is not the same as you make you less somehow? And... how? I just don't understand.
You know who I think belittle marriage? Not gay spouses. Spouses who cheat. Spouses who abuse. People who enter marriage so lightly that their marriage lasts for mere hours because it was all just a joke, a prank to start with. People who remove their ring for a night on the town, those who don't honour and support their spouses. People who hop in and out of marriages so quickly, it's like a wedding is the new first date. I'm not just talking about people whose marriage looks different than mine, I'm talking about people who don't take their promise seriously, and who don't take their partner as a partner, not an accessory. That belittles the importance of marriage, if you ask me. After all, only you can truly diminish your own marriage, so if you want to protect the sanctity of it, stop worrying about what othr pople are doing and pay attention to whatever vows you may have spoken.
But people who are fighting just to have a deep love recognized, to be able to do what heterosexual couples have been doing for ages, to make a commitment, a promise, in front of the people they love, in front of friends and family, to be recognized as a team, a pair who intend to work together to support one another? That is not belittling marriage, that is exalting it. That is showing people who would take the idea of marriage for granted just how important it is to them.
How can someone else feel right about denying them that? This makes me sad for California, and proud of living in a country where we have decided some while ago that it is no big deal, that people should love, that we should allow people to come together, rather than trying to keep them apart. To those worried about the implications, I say take a look at the countries who have allowed and honoured marriages between same-sex couples for some time now. The fabric of society has not rent - if anything, we have more people in more solid couples for the weight of the solemn vows they have spoken.