Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Support for Prop 8 Not the Same as Bigotry
Slate writer, Richard Thompson Ford,wrote a very good article for Slate.com which attempts to help those who do not understand how Obama could win but gay marriage could not in this last election.
The issue is the definition of marriage itself. It is not an issue of hatred or bigotry. An overwhelming amount of voters are in favor of gay rights in the workplace and in same-sex unions. However, it is what marriage is currently defined as. That is at issue here. Marriage, should gays legally marry, would no longer be an historic recognition of gender roles, husband and wife. Marriage would be simply the joining of two people, regardless of gender, regardless of traditional roles held sacred by a majority of the people. It would bring the meaning of marriage as we now know it to ambiguity.
I have to agree with Ford, it is not the same as racism or the Civil Rights movement as so many people seem to see it. Segregation or employment or lifestyle are not at issue here. It is what marriage means to us as a nation. The majority (over 70% of Americans) would like to keep the traditional meaning of what it is to be married. A union between a man and a woman.
This is not to say gay couples won't feel slighted or that some people may have voted because they don't agree with the gay lifestyle. This, I'm sure, was a factor in some voter's decisions. And it is a shame that some may have understood the vote to be that on either side of the fence. It is a hope of many gay couples for recognition by society of same gender preferences. I can understand the pain of wanting that recognition and acceptance. Prop 8 is, however, not a vote against the gay lifestyle or rights to live, work or do as they choose in their private life as any straight couple. The issue is the way we define the word marriage. To give up that tradition, something that many feel very strongly about protecting, was at the heart of Prop 8, not prejudice against a minority population.