Monday, November 3, 2008

An Open Letter to my Family and Friends about Prop 8

Wow... it's finally upon us. It's the eve of our Election Day and emotions are running high. It's an exciting year and history will be made no matter which ticket wins our vote. I feel so lucky and yet still happily shocked that this is all happening in my lifetime. Isn't it amazing?

Most of you already know who I'm voting for, and we've probably already communicated our choices - whether by email, in person or just by the forwards we've sent recently. :) I'd say that those who are still undecided after all the debates and press and literature - well, I hope you wake up having made up your mind! Please don't make the choice to NOT vote this year. Who would want to be left out of the most historic election of our lifetimes? Right? But the President is not the reason I am writing to you tonight. For those of us in California, there are a number of big decisions to be made... and I'd like to ask you to consider one of them very closely.

Proposition 8 is one of those issues that is difficult to talk about without stirring up very strong emotions on either side. It has been pushed strongly in TV, print and Internet ads, on billboards and handmade signs - all touting the tag lines 'Restore Marriage', 'Protect Traditional Marriage', and 'Protect California's Children'. All of this sounds like a good thing, like a positive thing. "Yes," you might think, "I want to protect marriage... I want to protect my children." But what is so scary about a same-sex couple getting married? How does this hurt you, impact your life? Really... please, I'd like to know. Because I find it hard to understand what two people, ANY two people, getting married has to do with me and my personal life... my relationship? I'll tell you how, for me anyway... it brings me JOY to see two people who love each other be able to take that final step and stand up and say "I do." Because whether your gay or straight - you do fantasize about your dream wedding as you grow up... who would be there, what you would wear... your colors and where you'll hold the ceremony. And most important of all... you imagine that person who you will stand up with and take those solemn vows. If you ever dreamt of that day, imagined and planned and hoped and wished... then why take that dream away from someone else? How could you, really? How about if you change the words "same-sex marriage" to "interracial marriage?" Does that work? Does that seem fair or constitutional? Because not so long ago... only in 1949, actually... marriage between any Latino, Asian or Black person and a Caucasian was ILLEGAL in California. Maybe some of you remember... maybe not. I don't. But I do know there are many people in our families who might, and whose marriage would have been effected by that terrible law.

Proposition 8 starts out this way: "ELIMINATES right of..." Eliminates rights. That's a phrase that simply does NOT belong on California's constitution. Would you agree? Now I know that many of you are deeply religious. And that is a beautiful thing. But the beauty of our United States of America is that we are FREE from religious persecution... AND we enjoy the separation of Church and State. Why? Not because religion is wrong - but because we cannot be governed by the views and laws of one religion, but rather by the will of the People. And We the People are a varied and diverse kind. We are not all Christians, not all Catholics - nor Mormons, or Witnesses. And so while we may all be 'Under God,' we should not create laws meant to discriminate against one group of people based on another group's religious views. It's Un-American. It's wrong. And I guarantee that it will hurt and devastate at least one person in your life - whether it be someone in your family, your workplace, maybe even in your own home. As for protecting children... I'm all for that. I've always worked for the protection of children from abuse, from neglect and from poverty. A vote No on Prop 8 will not harm our children. California law already provides the right for a parent to ask that their child not be involved in certain teaching. Remember pig dissections? Parents are given the right to have a child pulled from the classroom during that section and have them work on another project instead. Parents already are required to consent to Health education curriculum. And parents are notified and required to give permission before a child can go on any field trip. Children are not in any danger from marriage equality!

And now to get very personal. There is a reason that I've always been an advocate of gay rights. And his name is Robbie. Robbie is my cousin and someone who is very near and dear to my heart. He was a huge part of my childhood and the man in my life for many of those early years. He played with me, listened to my silly chatter, encouraged me to be who I am and gave me his full attention whenever I need someone to listen. He also filled my life with music and laughter... and he is gay. Because of him I learned very early that discrimination against gays is just as wrong and horrible as that which is based on the color of our skin or the language that we speak. It's wrong. And Prop 8 is discrimination, plain and simple. Today there are even more personal reasons - my sister is one of them. She deserves the right to marry whomever she chooses. As does every other person that we know and love. Please vote no on 8. It's the right thing to do. It's the Christian thing to do. "Love one another."

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for opening your mind and heart to this very important issue.



Obama '08!!