Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Mothers Letter To Her Son

Dear Son,

I don't expect you to agree with me, but I want to explain in a clear way why we are supporting the "Yes on Proposition 8" initiative. I won't do this from a religious viewpoint, but strictly from a legal and political point of view. First of all, as I explained, in 2000, the people of California voted to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. I believe it was over 60% of the votes cast were pro-Proposition 22. So, by law, Californians made their views known, and it was settled. We thought.

Then a few years ago, Gavin Newsome, the mayor of San Francisco, decided that he was the smartest man in the world, and he would allow same sex marriages in his city, despite the law & wishes of the people. Once this little tiny door opened, it opened the way for 4 judges of the California Supreme Court (unelected, appointed) to declare California's marriage law unconstitutional. I suppose I could just sigh and shrug, thinking that the judges must be right, except for a few little things... and that is the strength of the people of California, who, through legal and constitutional means, petitioned and lobbied to have this initiative put before the people once again. This time, not to create a law, but a constitutional amendment for the state of California. Whether you agree or not, this is how our country works. It's not discrimination, nor is it unconstitutional. It's the way we do it when we disagree with how one branch of the government handles things.

There are two choices for the voters of California. Do we believe that the word marriage, as traditionally defined - the institution that supports and sustains families and children, is the best definition, or not? Yes or No.

Your Dad and I have a right to choose traditional marriage. It isn't discrimination to keep marriage the same as it's always been. To me, it's logical. In areas where marriage has come to mean anything, it comes to mean nothing. So why shouldn't we vote to uphold the definition of marriage that seems the best for our children and society? Many people ask what harm it can do to our marriages if we allow gays to marry. I wish it were so simple. Once you open that door, then it becomes illegal to discriminate in any way against same sex couples.

I do believe that gays deserve civil rights and protection. They should be allowed to live their lives in peace, safety and privacy. But it isn't really just the definition of marriage that is the issue - it's the future repercussions of legalizing and recognizing marriages for same-sex couples. Once that door is opened, then by law, anyone who refuses to perform marriages for gays, provide adoptions for same-sex couples, or countless other situations, will be in violation of anti-discrimination laws and guilty of hate crimes. The courts are very busy in Massachusetts dealing with hate crimes issues and discrimination cases as a result of their legalizing same sex marriages. It will become a legal nightmare here also. Really. You might think this is fear-mongering or bigoted, but it's true.

You might have heard about the Catholic Charities in Boston - probably the single largest adoption agency in the state. When Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages, the state went after Catholic Charities, requiring them to place children in homes of same-sex couples. Catholic Charities said they had a problem with that, it went against their policies and conscience to place babies in a home without both a mother and a father. Massachusetts said 'YOU MUST COMPLY'. Catholic Charities said, 'We're out of the adoption business.' They no longer handle adoptions. This means that thousands of babies are no longer on the adoption rolls, and the backlog and waiting list for adoptions is enormous. Who won? Certainly not babies or families.

You might have heard that people could still follow their consciences even if the marriage laws are changed, but this is not so. Many organizations and individuals have been fined, jailed, had their tax-exempt status revoked, and otherwise forced to submit to social policies not directly linked to same-sex marriage.

You told me that times have changed. I think they have. But many people believe there is a difference between horrific racial discrimination of the past, and changing the definition of marriage. I DO believe in civil unions. I believe gays have a right to love whom they want, live with whom they love, have rights to inherit, hospital visitation, and any other legal contract. "Civil Unions" already provide these rights to the gay community. I also believe that gays should be allowed to adopt children too - although I'm not crazy about the idea - I think kids need a mother and a father, but I would not be in favor of outlawing gay adoption.

I don't believe that adoption agencies should be FORCED to place babies in homes with single parents, or same-sex parents if they have other, married man & woman couples waiting.

Times may have changed, but your Dad and I have a right to believe that the traditional definition of marriage is the best definition, and protects children and families. So, we'll cast our YES vote for Proposition 8. If it is defeated, we will have done our best to try to keep marriage between one man and one woman. We've been working on this for awhile, so we've heard all the arguments against Prop 8. I am sure you have lots of thoughts on the subject. But, please, realize that we feel that our responsibility is to do all we can to strengthen the institution of marriage, not weaken it or make it meaningless. So, just respect our point of view, and leave it at that, okay?

Thanks sweetie. I know you have a kind heart and a sense of fair play. But we are entitled to our view, and we really don't want you to feel obligated to straighten us out. We'll be okay!

Lots of Love


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great letter! I'll have to use this for my family members.