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Thinking of Proposition 8

by Alan Hefner

In a historic election when the United States elected its first African-American President, Barack Obama, the State of California chose to pass Proposition 8, the elimination of the legality of same-sex marriage from its constitution. Millions were angered, disheartened, and asked why. Why, a state which is usually the leader of change would cast a vote denying liberties to some of its citizens? Was it paradoxical?

The answer soon became apparent when reviewing the voting data, not paradoxical but prejudicial. The margin between those in favor and those opposed to Prop 8 were narrow among most racial groups except for the African-American voters who voted 70% for Obama and 30% against Proposition 8. This is a significant statistic in anyone's opinion and requires an examination. The first portion of the statistic is relative simple to explain. A majority of African-Americans would naturally vote for an African-American for president, and rightfully they should feel pride in the Obama victory as many Americans do regardless of their race or political party.

However, the second portion of the statistic, 30% opposed to Prop 8, seems incoherent. A vote for Obama seemed to be a vote for equality and change, a vote against Prop 8, denying people's rights, seemed like a step backward into the past. Many asked could a people who only recently in history gained their freedoms do such a thing. Apparently they chose to, and their reason for doing so encompasses several variables.

Many African-Americans are religious and conservative. They are guided by their religious beliefs. The Christian Holy Bible speaks of homosexuality as an abomination to God; a strong belief that guides many Christians, not only African-Americans. As the Bible says homosexuality may be an abomination to God; however, according to animal psychologists homosexuality has been found in every species of mammal, and when some animals overpopulate their territory they begin homosexual mating. This seems to eliminate the arguments the homosexuality is unnatural and a matter of choice. As for this matter of homosexuality being unnatural two more questions surface. Did the Biblical writers possess this information, and do most Christians? Apparently those called homosexuality an abomination to God did not since God is supposed to be the creator of all nature. Most Christians seem not to share this information, and those who do seem neglectful in revealing it.

This essay does not mean to be harsh on African-Americans and religion but it seems justified when viewing the arguments of the opponents of Proposition 8. Citizens' civil liberties have been deprived. Anyone not thinking so should try getting married before a priest or minister without a marriage license; the endeavor would be futile. Marriage, first and foremost, is a civil contract. Furthermore, marriage and same-sex marriage are different, even the wording of the ceremonies are different. Proponents of Prop 8 said they wished to restore traditional marriage between a man and a woman. No one can restore something never lost or broken. Even if Prop 8 had been defeated a man and a woman could still marry in California. Restore what?

Proponents of Prop 8 said if it did not pass same-sex marriage would be taught in schools starting in the second grade. Parents could do nothing about it. An authority in sex education said marriage is not taught in sex education classes, it is up to the parents. As smart as some kids are today even at an early age they would wonder what all the fuss was about on TV. As they get older some are going to demand to know the difference between civil union and same-sex marriage. Many will figure it out for themselves. Seeing happy children on TV at the same-sex marriages that occurred in San Francisco and then thinking of the unhappiness of children because of the divorce of their Mommy and Daddy one questions the validity of these arguments.

The Catholics and Mormons say they are being unfairly targeted by opponents of Prop 8 who are now protesting. Both groups spent millions of dollars backing the measure. It is interesting that the Mormon Church publicly acknowledged its contribution but most of the money given by the Catholics was announced to have been contributed by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization. One wonders if this was a result of the Church's recent sex scandal involving pedophile priests.

According to authorities because of their tax-exempt status churches cannot tell their congregations which candidate to vote for, but they can advise on the issues or propositions. Evidently such was done concerning Proposition 8. How easy it would be to preach for a proposition which a candidate is known to be in favor of.

Also, spiritual sexuality exists within the Catholic Church. Most Catholic nuns acknowledge they are the brides or wives of Christ. Dominican Sisters wear wedding rings signifying this. Years ago this author attended the perpetual vows of his cousin entering a Trappist Abbey. At a dinner later an aunt, a nun herself, told the cousin that he was now the bride of Christ. The man shyly said that he was glad some of his friends had not heard that. This author knew what he meant. However, it seems spiritual homosexuality is acceptable by some in the Church, but not physical.

Proposition 8 seems to have posed a double calamity: first it infringed on people's civil right, creating discrimination; and to many it seemed a waste of money. 85% to 90% of the people had made their minds as to how they would vote at the beginning of the initiative campaign, so millions were spent to sway 10% to 15% of the voters; money that many feel could have been better spent elsewhere in these hard economic times.

Money many see not spent as it should have been. Jesus, the acclaimed leader of the Christian Church, said "Go, teach ye all nations…" Teaching does not mean legislate, especially civil legislation. This last matter Christ made clear too when saying, "Render unto God what is God's, and unto Caesar what is Caesar's"

As a footnote this author/editor might say that he does not generally permit political articles and writings upon this website, but the subjective thinking which comprised Proposition 8 forced him to make an exception. Such thinking is what the website opposes, its purpose. And, such thinking, if allowed to continue, will destroy the freedom of all.