Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting YES on Prop 8 is NOT about Hate.

We urge you to begin by reading the dissenting opinion by Justice Baxter regarding the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage by clicking here. By beginning with this legal document, we hope that people can begin to study the issue for themselves, and take consideration that there are many other very justifiable reasons for voting Yes on 8 than simply out of discrimination. This California ruling was huge, it was serious, and it is not as simple and clear cut as an issue of denying people rights, as the No campaign would like you to believe. This ruling is complex and controversial, and we urge everyone to vote in accordance with what they believe based on their own morals, beliefs, and respect for the judicial system.

With all that is being said about Proposition 8, many still do not understand why we are voting YES to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. While there are many other websites out there that lay out in much more detail the issues and ramifications at hand (see ), this website is meant to address the issue that claims if we vote Yes on Prop 8, then we must be hateful and intolerant.

Is this true? Are we fearful homophobics? Are we bitter Christians who are trying to impose our doctrines on others? Are we narrow-minded bigots who are simply discriminating against gay people? Are we on a crusade to attack and oppress the equal rights of our brothers and sisters to live their lives the way they want?

The simple answer is an emphatic "No."

The more complex answer can be found within this simple website, a collection of words and thoughts from other liberals who have a deep desire to continue to preach and practice according to our own moral convictions, while also having a great love for all those who live alternative to our own personal convictions. Yes, there are those out there who will be voting Yes on 8 because they are bigoted, because they are fearful, and because they think that they have the right to judge and condemn others. And we do not associate with them and their purposes. No one should ever use fear, hatred, or intolerance to support their religious or political beliefs. Instead, this website is here to explain how voting YES on Proposition 8 is not about stopping individuals from forming relationships and bonds with those whom they love of their same gender. It is not about taking away people's rights. It is not about playing moral police. It is not even about whether the homosexual lifestyle is right or wrong.

Proposition 8 is not about the moral argument of homosexuality. It is about the actual definition of the word "marriage" and the effect this has on the freedom of religion. It is also about the basis the Courts used to come to their conclusion to legalize gay marriage, and the shaky ground that was tread in coming to this determination--ground that is completely different than all other rulings on this issue that have thus occurred in every other state in the union. It is about preserving tolerance for religious freedoms to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

If gay couples establish partnerships, does that threaten the ability of others to continue to teach according to their beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman? Will the heterosexual marriages suddenly crumble and the children be turned to the streets in a mass demolition exodus? No. Of course not.

But does changing the definition of the word "marriage" to include these homosexual relationships threaten the ability of others to continue to teach and practice according to their beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman? Yes.

Could our freedom of religion be threatened? Surprisingly, yes.

When gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, the judges there came to that determination by reviewing the case on a standard of rational basis. When the judges here in California legalized gay marriage, they came to that determination by reviewing the case on a standard of strict scrutiny, giving acknowledgement and classification of the homosexual lifestyle as a "suspect class." This is quite different than how ANY other states have ever ruled on the issue, including Massachusetts. This classification is not about anti-discrimination laws that already exist, rather it is about giving state-sanctioned protection to the the legal right that gays have to enter into marriage.

The legal ramifications of classifying homosexuals as a "suspect class" will be unprecedented as no other state in the United States of America has ever given this type of determination regarding gay marriage, and the decision to do so was highly controversial, even among the judges. Court decisions are never made in a vacuum. With this new determination by our Supreme Court, there now opens many new doors of cases that will build upon this one, and use the language and determinations of this ruling to support future rulings. Because the State has now considered it a civil right for the definition of marriage to be altered in order to suit same gender couples, there is now a very real threat to the ability of churches to continue to teach in accordance with their beliefs that homosexuality is wrong. Think that's not true? How long will the State continue to allow churches to teach and practice what basically amounts to discrimination against a protected class of people in the eyes of the law? What we are taking issue here with is the ramifications of changing the definition of the word "marriage." It could have greater consequences on religious freedom than many people can now recognize.

We support the civil rights of homosexual couples to engage in domestic partnerships and receive all the same legal and civil rights as heterosexual couples. Even though we may morally disagree with that lifestyle, we do not have the right to impose our beliefs on others. But changing the term "marriage" to also encompass homosexual unions will take away from our right to believe what we believe that marriage truly is. This issue isn't about bigotry. It is about allowing people to have the freedom to practice and adhere to their religious and moral beliefs without being labeled intolerant. It is about giving religions the same tolerance that our homosexual brothers and sisters desire--the freedom to practice what we believe without the State telling us that we are wrong. It is about being able to love our brothers and sisters who have same-gender attractions, while at the same time expressing why that doesn't mean we have to be forced to accept their moral lifestyle. Don't we have this right?
If changing the marriage laws did not interfere with our ability to teach and practice the things we hold sacred, we would not be pushing so much to support it. It's not the rights of gay people that we have a problem with. It is the infringement on our rights and the labeling of our beliefs as discrimination that is bringing this to the forefront. Having a difference of opinion is not discrimination. Having beliefs that are contrary to another's is not discrimination. Being forced to adhere to a system that is in opposition to our beliefs is discrimination.

We invite all visitors to step beyond the hype and the rhetoric and the anger and the uproar and the accusations that are surrounding this very important issue. Listen and understand why we love all of our brothers and sisters and completely support their free moral agency to live their lives according to the dictates of their own consciences, but why Proposition 8 interferes with our right to do the same.

We invite you to read the statements below, and ponder what you believe about a democratic society that includes tolerance for religious beliefs as well. If anything, we at least ask that you understand where we are coming from, and that we are not hateful or intolerant, and that it hurts us to be labeled as such. There is no difference in the love that I have for my gay friends compared to anyone else, and I hate to think that some person would call me a bigot and have my personal beliefs ruled "hate speech". We invite you to shun the hateful words of those who may also support Prop 8 but who do so in the wrong spirit, and to remember that it is they who are misguided, not this Proposition. When you go to the polls on November 4, remember that Proposition 8 is NOT about hate.
Disagreeing is not Discriminating.

No on Hate.
Yes on Prop 8.