Hate and Hostility
An instant of clarity in a difficult fight
Oct 23, 2008 by Judy Eisenbrand
A fifth and sixth grader stood on a patch of grass by the homecoming game at our local high school, holding up “Yes on 8” signs. Cars drove by with people yelling obscenities at them and flipping them off. Someone threw an egg at the 4 year-old. A woman even pulled over, harshly admonishing the children that they didn’t know what the signs meant or what they were doing. What is wrong with this picture?
The slogan put forth by opponents of Proposition 8 is: “Don’t Hate, No on 8.” The scenario above makes me wonder which side the hate is really coming from. Why would people openly display such hostility and anger towards small children? Perhaps children holding signs brings an instant of clarity to an issue that has been intentionally confused.
Many well meaning people believe that legalizing gay marriage is about equal rights, as millions of lobbying dollars have advertised. But California law already grants domestic partnerships the same rights as married heterosexual couples; including tax and health benefits. The only “right” at stake with Prop 8 is the right to change the meaning of marriage, and thus the role of marriage in society. Our traditional notion of marriage has served all humanity for centuries and exists as a legal and social institution primarily because its simple mission at root is for children, for the civilization of future generations. California’s new definition of marriage, by contrast, because it can be either homo- or hetero-sexual, centers on the couple. Children become an afterthought, or less. What will be the consequences?
State sanctioned gay marriage also redefines the morality of homosexuality. By equating homosexual unions with heterosexual marriage, we implicitly condone such issues as gay parenting and exposure to an adult lifestyle choice in public school education. Is it right to intentionally set up a child to be fatherless or motherless? Is it good to provide a public environment that allows for the confusion of sexual orientation of impressionable children when current science shows that homosexuality is a spectrum phenomenon, clearly affected not only by genetics but also by environment? Are children commodities subject to the whim of their adult guardians, or does society have a role in safeguarding our children? The ramifications are far reaching for the children of society, and by its very nature, how much investment can the gay community have in the interests of children?
Opponents of Proposition 8 argue that legalizing gay marriage will have no impact on public education or on religious organizations. After the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, Catholic Charities of Boston, a widely respected organization that had placed more orphans in homes than any other in the state since its founding in 1903 – had to shut down its adoption agency because it could not comply with State law forcing the agency to allow adoption to gay couples (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/06/25/they_cared_for_the_children/). Just last week, California public school children in the 1st grade were taken on a field trip to a lesbian wedding, justified as a “teachable moment” with “historic significance” and an “academically relevant” civics lesson. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,436961,00.html) These are only two examples of the profound effects that legalizing gay marriage can and will continue to have on society.
The California Teachers Association just donated $1M to the “No on 8” campaign on the basis that they believe “in teaching the importance of equal rights for all.” Yes, it is good to have equal rights, but in this case, the CTA has literally “thrown the baby out with the bath water,” as they used to say. Decreasing homophobia is good for society, but does achieving this end have to be at the cost of destroying the oldest human institution devised solely for the protection of children? The children holding up the signs in my community the other day understood what they were doing. They don’t have lobbyists and resources to stand up for them. They stood up for family the only way they knew how. Please consider voting “Yes on 8,” for our children and our future. -Judy Eisenbrand
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