Opinions & Editorials

Marriage for all, pay in cash

By Graham Henderson
Staff Writer

On November 4, California voters will have a chance to take away the right of same-sex couples to marry by voting YES on Proposition 8. The proposition is an amendment to the California Constitution put onto the ballot following a petition initiated by voters.

The proposition is identical to Proposition 22, which was passed by California voters in 2000, but was overturned as unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in May 2008. Proposition 22, like Proposition 8, define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Couples of all sexual orientations should be allowed to marry. Just because the proposition was passed in 2000 does not make it correct, that’s why the court overturned it.

Groups, both for and against the proposition, are running ads on major television networks across California. The group “Yes on 8” asserts that if Proposition 8 were to be defeated, it would force church organizations which support traditional marriage or lose their tax-exempt status, and would force same-sex marriage to be taught in school, “starting with kindergartners”, according the group’s Web site.

This is not true. When the court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, it specifically declared that no groups would have to change their beliefs, nor would they have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies against their will.

California law already prohibits schools from teaching children health and family values against the will of their parents. If a child were to be taught values their parents disagreed with, the parents would legally be able to stop it. It is never mentioned that this same law would also prevent schools from teaching marriage is strictly between a man and a woman if, for example, a same-sex couple with children objected to it.

Schools should teach tolerance — teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman is not teaching family values: it is teaching discrimination.

Rights for domestic partners are already provided for by California law, but being married gives more dignity and respect in society, according to Vote No on Prop 8, a group running ads opposed to the proposition. “Married couples can automatically make life or death decisions for each other in these crisis situations, no questions asked,” the group’s Web site reads.

Interracial marriage between blacks and whites was still illegal in 16 states until half a century ago, when the ban was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Even California’s laws banning interracial marriage were not overturned until 1959. Interracial marriage had been considered socially unacceptable, but people finally realized that banning different races from marrying was discriminatory, regardless of what their personal beliefs might be.

Today the issue is not longer interracial marriage, but same-sex marriage. Ironically, the whole battle is really over a word. A healthy relationship is no different than a marriage. It shouldn’t matter if your relationship is called a marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend or a domestic partnership. Two people who love each other are two people who love each other, regardless of what they call themselves. But straight couples have the right to call their relationship a marriage – if same-sex couples want that right too, not giving it to them is discriminatory.


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