What About My Rights?

Twenty-four days until Election Day.  The longest twenty-four days of my life.

Somewhere there’s a list of things you do not talk abut in polite company, and on it is religion and politics.  I like to be in polite company, where we respect each other’s individual beliefs and choices and instead of dwelling on the differences we focus on the similarities.  I like to think that when those differences come up, one or the both of us might consider the direction the conversation is going (RED ALERT!!!  RED ALERT!!! STAY AWAY FROM THE TOPIC!!!  MOVE ON TO THE WEATHER, YOUR NEW SHOES, ANYTHING BUT THAT!!!) and either agree to disagree or steer the conversation elsewhere to something more pleasant like how hot Robert Downey, Jr. is and when the next Iron Man movie will be gracing us with its presence.  Or perhaps we might converse about how one of us (ok, it’s me) is boycotting the new Twilight movie because you are extremely bitter about it forcing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to a summer release date and then blatantly moving its own premiere up to the date of the original HBP release?  That sounds about right when defining polite company, doesn’t it?

Now let’s whack the proverbial hornet’s nest….

I have some concerns I’d like addressed by those of you who are against California’s Proposition 8.

Why is there a problem with having a definition for traditional marriage?  Many churches recognize the difference between a religious ceremony and a civil one.  If there is a real need for a definition, why not both?  I’ve heard the concern about gay couples not having the same rights as traditionally married couples do.  But I’ve read and looked up in the California Family Code where it says right there in Section 297.5 that they do.  What’s the real reason you want things changed?  If people believe homosexuality is wrong, calling a same-sex couple married won’t change that.

I don’t trust all of the information on either side of the issue.  Nobody can predict the future so I don’t believe anyone when I’m told that same-sex marriage will be taught in the schools or it won’t be taught in the schools.  I did notice in the Official California Voter Information Guide on the page where each side gets to make their arguments and rebuttals, the rebuttal to the “Yes” arguement states:  There’s NOT ONE WORD IN 8 ABOUT EDUCATION. In fact, local school districts and parents—not the state—develop health education programs for their schools.” Part of that statement is true.  There isn’t one word about education in the amendment.  There aren’t any words about education.  But local school districts and parents do not develop any of the curriculum for their schools.  That is something forced on teachers everywhere thanks to No Child Left Behind (but that’s a sticky wicket for another day).

I have heard and seen print information that if Prop. 8 fails, churches and clergy could be sued if they deny to perform marriages to same-sex couples in their buildings even if it goes against the teachings and doctrines of that church, or they could be sued for not allowing a same-sex couple to adopt from their adoption agencies.  I’ve also heard that churches could lose their tax-exempt status.  I tried to find something linking to that to back me up, but no dice.  For that reason, I’m chalking this one up to “I can’t verify this, but what if???”  The First Amendment guarantees us that the government will not establish a religion, and that we are not prohibited the free exercise thereof.  Not that there will be no religion anywhere.

I’m afraid that we are legislating God out of our lives.  Will I one day (and no, not just because of this issue) be as Daniel, forbidden by my King (President) to worship anyone but him?

This subject isn’t easy for me to write about.  I have family and friends who are gay.  I love them dearly.  Obviously, we have differing spiritual/religious beliefs.  I’m ok with that.  I hope they are just as ok with me.

This November, we all have a duty to stand up for who and what we believe is right.  Whatever holes you punch, levers you pull, ovals you fill in or touch-screens you manhandle, I hope you take the time to do it.  Our Forefathers and Foremothers died to give us the chance.  Don’t waste it.

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3 thoughts on “What About My Rights?

  1. Well said Sista! I, too have gay friends. If they want to partner up, great! Should they get all the tax and insurance benefits? Sure! Should the defenition of marriage be between a man and a woman…yes.

    Just my 2 cents, which is coincidentaly about what I have left in my checking account after paying bills. {sigh}

  2. I found Morris Thurston’s analysis to be helpful. I think 1st graders and kindergartners will end up hearing that gay marriage exists, just like they now hear female truck drivers exist. It looks like churches won’t be forced to marry homosexual couples and will be able to preach on morality without being prosecuted or losing their tax-exempt status.

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