Proposition 8: Permission for gays to marry denied

Proposition: n. something offered for consideration or acceptance.

Permission: n. formal consent, authorization.

Among the few unhappy outcomes of last week’s election was the success of Proposition 8 in California. This ballot initiative (unless somehow overturned again) will amend the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. It would overturn a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right.

The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $35.8 million and $37.6 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot that day and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest.

Getting this passed has been in the minds of the Mormon (LDS) higher-ups for at least ten years and much of the “for” money came from Utah in an unlikely alliance with the Catholic church in California.

Some 18,000 same-sex couples happily got married in the brief window afforded by a California Supreme Court decision that said banning it was unconstitutional. (With a new amendment IN the constitution, the case is back at square one.)  Will their marriages suddenly be nul and void? It’s a mess.

I have never understood how gay marriage “undermines the institution of marriage,” and why it is that “traditional” marriage needs to be “protected”.  As it is, 50% of “traditional” marriages in the US fail, without any help whatsoever from the gay couple down the street.  (Some of them may even fail because one of the partners would rather be with a person of the same sex…)

“Traditional” marriage has changed a number of times over the years anyway.  Although the Mormons like to say that marriage has been “one man and one woman” for 4000 years, they allowed “one man, many women” until 1890 (and in some rural sects they still do!).

Black people who were slaves couldn’t marry. Until 1960 a white and black couple couldn’t marry. Although I wouldn’t want to marry another woman, I can only say hooray for someone else who has found their perfect mate.

The MSNBC commentator, Keith Olbermann, gave one of his special comments on Prop 8 last night. He can sometimes go on a rant, but this was very special. Tender. He stands on the side of love:

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you.

They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world. Only now you are saying to them—no.  …

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love?

The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do? …

Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Watch the whole comment:

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4 responses to “Proposition 8: Permission for gays to marry denied

  1. What I really don’t understand is why bankrolling something like this doesn’t cost the LDS their tax exempt status. But then I would look closely at the books of any church doing anything but ‘good works’ with their money, and quite a few would lose tax exempt status if I wrote the rules. Especially the ones with heads of church owning mansions and other types of excessive worldly possessions.
    What really puzzles me is why so many black churches were reportedly also against granting equality to gays.

  2. From the IRS: Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

    So this is about CANDIDATES… the IRS goes on to say: “Churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena.”

    You tell me… does this seem right? I don’t think so.

  3. In what world does millions of dollars count as a ‘limited’ amount? I’m with you: it’s just not right that they can take tithed dollars (and have you read some of the stories about the pressure the LDS puts on it’s members to contribute?) and essentially bank roll a policy issue.
    Olbermann’s comment was excellent.

  4. Several years ago I went to a community meeting at a local LDS church (or whatever they call it) and it must have been annual tithing time because they had financial forms on the hall table that asked for a similar level of detail as the IRS’s 1040.

    Think of how well off the UUs would be if we did that!