Prop 8 puts discrimination in the Constitution State, National, International, posted by Tara Walsh, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 4:15 pm
Dear Pleasanton Neighbors,
After weeks of reading about Prop 8 in the news, I feel compelled to write. I know this is lengthy, but I hope you'll read it to the end. Let me first say that I have been a part of the Pleasanton community for 37 years now. I am a graduate of Foothill High School, a small business owner in town and a healthcare provider. I feel priviledged to serve in a community that I love, and it’s because of my strong ties to this community that I feel so disturbed by the misinformation that has infiltrated our homes via television, radio, etc. I believe that a majority of Californians want to treat people fairly and it pains me to see citizens make decisions and judgements based upon false information.
Proposition 8 would revoke the marital rights of thousands of same-sex couples in California. No matter what your religious beliefs about marriage, Prop 8 is a civil rights issue that we should all care about because writing discrimination into the Constitution sets a dangerous precedent. The Constitution of this state has never been used as a tool to take away rights from a particular segment of the population. Traditionally, the Constitution has stood for freedom, liberty and protection under the law.
Although some people may have a strong opinion about gay marriage based on their religious beliefs, California is not a theocracy. Laws that govern all Californians should not be based on the beliefs of any singular religion. Furthermore, there are many faith leaders (including prominent Christians and Jews) who strongly believe that people in their faith traditions should support marriage equality.
Civil rights issues are often controversial. For example, in 1948, when the California Supreme Court ruled that inter-racial couples had the fundamental right to marry, most Californians did not agree with the court's ruling. Had Californians placed an initiative on the ballot in 1948 to limit marriage to same-race couples, it's likely that such a ballot measure would have passed. Were the judges in that historic case over-ruling the will of the people or were they honoring the Constitution and the rights it protected? I think the answer to that question is clear in retrospect. One of the reasons our Constitution exists is to protect the rights of minorities. Currently, gay and lesbian individuals comprise approximately 3% of the population in our state. Prop 8 allows roughly 97% of the majority to vote on conferring civil rights to 3% of the minority in this election, and this is wrong. The Supreme Court is not comprised of "activist judges", but rather, individuals sworn to uphold the the Constitution and laws of our state.
Rosa Parks spoke out in support of marriage equality before she died in 2005. Corretta Scott King (MLK Jr.'s wife) also spoke out in support of marriage equality before she died in 2006. As leaders of the African American Civil Rights Movement, these women understood bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination, and spoke out against it no matter what form it took. And let’s not forget that it wasn’t until 1920 when all American women won full rights to vote in political elections. Can you imagine what it would be like today if you didn’t have the right to vote? This is what civil liberties are all about and why it’s imperative NOT to vote yes on 8.
I would like to address some of the deception that has shadowed the Prop 8 campaign so far:
FICTION: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status. FACT: Legalized same-sex marriage does not force any church to change their practices and it does not leave any church vulnerable to losing tax-exempt status. In fact, the court decision regarding marriage specifically says "no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."
FICTION: Children will be forced to learn about same-sex marriages in schools . FACT: California gives parents an absolute right to remove their children from any classes pertaining to health, sexuality or family planning.
I am also disheartened by the obvious lack of separation between church and state in this election, which is in direct contrast to what our founding fathers intended. I certainly support freedom of religious beliefs and worship, but there is a line crossed when active steps are taken to permanantly discriminate against a group of individuals who believe different from you. Too much hatred, war and death is claimed in the name of God and one only needs to turn on the news to witness it. So far, the Mormon church has given roughly 40% of the $23 million dollars raised to support Prop 8, yet the Mormons themselves were a persecuted people who fled communities and faced incarceration for their own marital practices which, for years included the practice of plural marriage (polygamy). I find it ironic and sad to see the persecuted turn full circle, now passing judgement on others, all in the name of God.
(Note: Morris A. Thurston, a Mormon professor at Brigham Young University law school, confirms what others have been saying for weeks – that the Yes on 8 advertising which claims that same-sex marriage would affect teaching in schools is "untrue" and "misleading," and that nothing in Prop. 8 would affect California schools. The Thurston memo has been posted to www.mormonsformarriage.com, a website sponsored by Mormons who do not support their Church's active campaign against gay marriage. As this Mormon scholar says, “Relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.”)
If civil liberties still aren’t enough to prompt you to vote NO on Prop 8, also consider this: gay marriage is giving the economy a much needed boost. The San Francisco controller’s office has estimated that the marriages will bring $19.8 million to the city’s economy by 2010 and researchers at UCLA have reported that the marriages could bring $684 million to the state’s economy during the next three years. In our current economic climate, a fiscal impact of $684 million dollars isn’t just a drop in the bucket.
What does Prop 8 mean to me personally? My wife and I were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in CA and it was the happiest day of our lives. We met folks on that day that had waited nearly 40 years to form a legal family. It was a day of joyful tears and long awaited celebration.
When people talk of getting married at City Hall, there isn’t often a connotation of romance, pomp and circumstance. For us, however, it was a day I wouldn’t trade for anything. We began our journey as two people who love each other and we’ve emerged as a family, complete with the legal regulations and protections of the state. For anyone who believes that civil unions are a good enough substitute for marriage or that “separate but equal” breeds anything other than inequality, I wish you could feel the liberation of shedding second-class citizenship. I shed mine on June 17th, and I plead for your support now, to help me keep my family safe. How would you feel if you woke up on Nov. 5th and realized that you could no longer be married to your spouse? That’s how it could feel for me and for the 12,000 other couples who’ve been married since June.
Without equal marriage rights, couples who share their lives in loving relationships are denied basic marital rights such as property inheritance and joint ownership of assets, pension benefits, employment benefits, and even hospital visitation rights. Domestic partnerships can bridge much of the (roughly) 300 state rights conferred in marriage, but why should you ask me to drink from a separate water fountain? I am no threat to you or to your family.
I am proud of who I am and my sexual orientation was not a choice. I don’t want you to watch the advertisements on TV and somehow feel better about your choice to vote against me. I’m not a number. I have a name and I want you to know it. I have a face and I invite you to recognize me in the community. I spend most of my days helping other people and I need your help now. We will all live richer, safer lives if we learn tolerance and teach it to our children. I pray that our society learns from the past by refusing to embrace yet another form of discrimination and hatred called homophobia. We are your neighbors, kids, parents, doctors and friends. We live productive lives, pay taxes and deserve equal treatment under the law. It’s the only thing we’re asking for.
Please educate yourself on the issues and don’t buy into the fear. I am tolerant of those who don’t personally agree with gay marriage, I simply ask that you carefully consider the ramifications of voting to write discrimination in to the state Constitution. It’s not the right thing to do and it’s bad for all Californians.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you don’t personally know any gay or lesbian people and you want to see what a “yes” vote would take away from my life, feel free to view my wedding photos at Web Link and at Web Link No matter what your views, I simply ask that you’re respectful and don’t leave negative comments on my page.
I wish you and your family lots of joy and peace as we approach the holiday season. I hope to still be married on November 5th so PLEASE join me in voting NO on 8! Your vote is crucial! My wife and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Posted by Lisa, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:08 pm
Why isn't polygamy legal? People should have the right to marry as many people as they want.
Why can't I marry a 12 year old that i'm in love with? People should have the right to marry whomever they want!
Why can't I marry my dog?? I LOVE my dog and want to make sure he is taken care of when i die!
I am not a religious person, and I consider myself to be open minded and generally lean to the left when it comes to politics. But this is not about rights, it's about an institution called marriage that was established between man and woman. Gay people should have rights that protect their partnership- fine by me. Let's just call it something else. If the gay community would let the heterosexuals have their "marriage" (its just a word) to themselves and start focusing their energy on a new name for their union, I think you may see a quicker resolution to your problem. Call it something different, establish your own rights and get on with it...
Posted by traditional wife, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:31 pm
Not only are you well spoken and insightful, you are incredibly brave to put your name and photo on this site. You made yourself a target for small minded people like Lisa but you cemented my feelings that voting NO on 8 was the most important thing that I did when filling out that absentee ballot.
Your life will be rich and full no matter what happens, just know that so many of us are hoping that your marriage can legally last.
And Lisa, there is one very good reason that you canot marry your dog. The dog is too smart.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:32 pm
You know, there's some things I agree with in that last post, but I'm still pretty dead set against using the California Constitution to strip rights off a group of people.
"it's about an institution called marriage that was established between man and woman"
Anthropologically speaking, marriage is for the express purpose of having children. The first night of the wedding was meant for consumating the marriage, i.e., to get busy with making children. People used to dissolve marriages when they failed to have children. Almost all laws surrounding the practice of marriage were designed to safeguard the welfare of children.
Perhaps marriage should only be allowed for couples with children.
I know it's tough to go outside one's comfort zone. To me though, I find it heinous to cling to meanings of words just for the sake of comfort/tradition when such clinging withholds rights from an entire group of people. Websters is just a dictionary, and it does change with the times.
Posted by Ben, a resident of another community, on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:14 pm
WOW. Regarding Lisa's comments above - when someone compares a loving gay couple to marrying a 12 year old, marrying multiple people, or marrying an ANIMAL, they must seriously hate gays. The comparisons are nothing short of a complete insult. You'd have to be callous to have the nerve to make a statement like that to your own son or daughter if they happened to be gay, because you'd rip their heart out if you said that to their face. So Lisa, I certainly hope you don't have children that happen to be gay someday, because you will destroy them with that rhetoric. It's hard enough as a stranger to read it.
Posted by Ava, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm
Gay people who want to marry want to be traditional, they want stability, they want to be boring married members of society like the heterosexual rest of us. We are helping our culture if we allow homosexual people to marry.
The fact that the Catholic church, in other words, (Comments partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.) is against homosexual marriage is ironic. Most, not all, priests haven't forsaken marriage because of a holy calling, they're doing it because they don't want it. They're not interested in a mature adult monogamous relationship with a woman. (Comments partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.) For this group of men to come out against homosexual marriage is a joke.
Posted by Lisa, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:03 pm
Oh calm down. You are missing my point and that is that marriage is defined as one thing and personally, I don't want that to change. That is why I will vote yes on 8. Glad we live in a country where we vote on these things!
And let me make it clear that I am not a hater, just have an opinion on the matter, sheesh. We all have our opinions, right? I don't hate Tara. I just think her union should be called something different. MY OPINION.
Posted by Ben, a resident of another community, on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:20 pm
Sorry Lisa. Your vote is hurtful to millions of people who are personally affected by this. You may not want it to change, but you clearly have no idea what personal effect you are having, or you simply don't care. Perhaps saying "you hurt" is better than saying "you hate", but most people would agree when someone intentionally hurts them, (which a yes vote is a conscious vote to do so) that it's not a long shot to say the person may hate them, thus the label. Just because you say it nicely doesn't mean the message doesn't burn.... because it does. Many of the fancy marketing and ads miss this most basic point, which Tara did a phenomenol job of articulating.
Posted by Diana, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:23 pm
Why should her marriage not be called 'marriage?' That doesn't make sense. Why are you so threatened by sharing the word? Really. You're threatened. You feel threatened. Why? What do you lose because of Tara and her wife's marriage? I can't think of anything, but you obviously are thinking of something....
Posted by Beatrice, a resident of the Castlewood Heights neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm
Protect Traditonal Marriage?? Why does including homosexual people in marriage mean marriage between heterosexuals is not safe? My goodness aren't we insecure about our marriages and our sexuality. That's not Tara's problem. See a therapist.
Posted by FYI, a resident of another community, on Oct 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm
October 22, 2008
"Coming Out Day" Coming This Week to
California Elementary Schools
Hayward, CA – Parents at a K-8 charter school in Hayward were shocked to learn this week the extent to which their school is promoting gay and lesbian ideals to their daughter in kindergarten.
The parents were shocked to see a poster announcing that "Coming Out Day" will be celebrated at the school this coming Thursday, October 23. The school, Faith Ringgold School of Art and Science, chose not to tell parents ahead of time, but it is in the midst of celebrating "Ally Week," a pro-homosexual push typically aimed at high school students. When one mother asked her daughter earlier this week what she was learning in kindergarten at the school, the 5-year-old replied, "We're learning to be allies." The mother also learned that her daughter's kindergarten classroom is regularly used during lunchtime for meetings of a Gay Straight Alliance club.
Later this week, the school is slated to talk about families. The parents have noticed several posters promoting families, all of which depict only homosexual families. More controversial discussions can be expected through next week, as the elementary school continues to celebrate Gay and Lesbian History Month. On November 20, the school will host TransAction Gender-Bender Read-Aloud, where students will hear adapted tales such as "Jane and the Beanstalk."
These parents are being advised by attorneys from Pacific Justice Institute. Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, "Do we need any further proof that gay activists will target children as early as possible? Opponents of traditional marriage keep telling us that Prop. 8 has nothing to do with education. In reality, they want to push the gay lifestyle on kindergartners, and we can only imagine how much worse it will be if Prop. 8 is defeated. This is not a scenario most Californians want replayed in their elementary schools."
Posted by Linda, a resident of the Avila neighborhood, on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:54 pm
Lisa, I'm with you, her union should be called something different. Separate but equal. Like, black kids have every right to an education, but they don't need to get it at OUR schools, MY OPINION folks, don't get excited.
And why can't those gays have their own water fountains and public bathrooms? I'd die for their right to use a public bathroom, but why can't they have THEIR OWN?
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Oct 23, 2008 at 5:15 pm
FYI is posting LIES. FYI did not check their source for validity. Do not believe a word of it! Google "Faith Ringgold School of Art and Science" and you will see nothing from a VALID news source (e.g. CNN, ABC, NBC) regarding that story.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Oct 23, 2008 at 7:53 pm
ABC just *recently* responded to the report in World Net Daily (it was inevitable that the propaganda would hit the masses). There was no "Gay Day" in the kindergarten. WND took some truths and twisted/lied/etc. for their No on 8 agenda.
Posted by Tara Walsh, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm
Things during this election have been pretty calm in Pleasanton, but I want to let you know that this isn't the case elsewhere. I have been peacefully demonstrating for NO on 8 around the bay area and wanted to let you know what I've experienced so far.
On Monday night, I went to the Lake Shore neighborhood in Oakland. There, I was verbally abused (inches from my face) by a group of (Hawaiian?) (Samoan?) Mormons who were screaming at the top of their lungs. General hate-speech stuff. I know they are Mormon because one of them saw me on the news, holding an "Ex-Mormon 4 Equality" sign and they wanted to express their displeasure for trying to "make the Church look bad". Eventually a group of them surrounded me and began grabbing at me, and the situation required police intervention.
The next night, I attended another demonstration and many of the Yes on 8 people were the same group I'd encountered the night before. I stood peacefully on a corner with my wife, a couple of friends and a Franciscan Monk while the Yes people shouted things like "You have AIDS", "USA not US Gay" and "stick your finger up your butt". Creative. In between the shouting, they broke into song with, "Families Can Be Together Forever", a Mormon favorite. One woman also simulated sex with a broom stick while screaming, "you just need a man" and "you're NASTY".
To the people who think that the Yes people don't hate or discriminate and that they're merely expressing freedom of speech, I beg to differ. Some of the footage is posted to www.flickr.com/wenandtara We didn't think to start taping until later in the evening, but you can get the general idea of what's happening from watching the clips. More to come through the week...
Posted by Tara Walsh, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 1:09 am
"Knuckleheads all around"? I'm sorry PJ, but I consider these actions inexcusable. To say that this type of hate is due to my choice of a geographic location in which to peacefully exercise free speech (and btw, many parts of Oakland are beautiful and there are wonderful neighborhoods there including Grand Lake) is much like saying that a woman is to blame for rape due to the type of clothing she selected to wear on a given evening. Calling the people "knuckleheads" doesn't cut it. BTW, I decided to exercise my free speech again tonight and I ran into a group of hate-filled teens singing Mormon Hymns and flipping me the bird. They were also screaming "faggot" and picking fights with people driving by. I guess that's what I deserve for leaving Pleasanton?
I'm choosing to send my video to the Mormon church, the press, and I'm posting the footage on Flickr. Anyone who knows Mormon culture will instantly recognize them as one of their own. Hate in any form is not okay, whether I wander to Oakland, New York, Ohio or stay in Pleasanton. It's just not okay with me. Vote No on 8 (unless you support hate-crime and bigotry, of course). I guess that remains to be seen...