Friday, September 26, 2008

No on 8 speech

I had my first chance to do a public speech against Proposition 8 last night. I was invited to the Santa Clarita Democratic Alliance for Action regular membership meeting. They had arranged a forum for several democratic candidates for public office and judge candidates to introduce themselves to the group. And there were also a few of us invited to speak to some of the 12 statewide propositions that California will be voting on November 4. I spoke against Proposition 8, the initiative that would amend the California state constitution to eliminate the (currently enjoyed) rights of same-sex couples to marry in California.

There was no speaker in favor of the Proposition, and the Democratic club was largely with me before I even began. So it was a good practice crowd for me to speak on the issue before I face a mixed crowd October 6 at an Interfaith Council sponsored community forum. At the end of the meeting the club voted to endorse the No on 8 campaign. Victory.

Technically I had already spoken once on the issue. Peleg and I hosted a house party last Sunday and I spoke on the issue to about 30 guests. There again it was a friendly crowd. But in both cases I do feel I accomplished something. Some people had not yet heard about the Proposition, and some don't know they need to vote "No" in order to preserve marriage rights. At the house party I was able to raise a little money and distribute lawn signs and bumper stickers. At the Democratic club I was able to earn an endorsement that will appear on the No on 8 website.

I've set up a little website to collect donations to the No on 8 equality for all campaign. I'd love your support.


sonAmerica said...

I noticed your blog mentioned Prop 8, and I wanted to respond with some thoughts on that. Prop 8 isn't an issue about "rights". It is about preserving the definition of "marriage" as between a man and a woman. Gay people can do what they want, and they can even enjoy many civil benefits through civil unions and the such. But that isn't marriage. Gay people should be treated with kindness and respect, like anyone. Gay people aren't the issue here nor the problem. The problem is that 4 arrogant judges in black robes sitting in their ivory tower overturned the express will of a clear majority of California citizens when they ruled by fiat and illegally legislated from the bench when they unilaterally redefined marriage. Prop 8 allows the citizens of California to say no to Judicial Activism and Judicial Tyranny. There are elements of the judiciary that are way out of control and are endangering the balance of power in our republic by getting involved in "legislating". This has got to stop. Voting yes on Prop 8 will help put those elitist judges back in their place and let them know they cannot arrogantly overule the will of the people in a matter as fundamental to the future of civilization as the bedrock institution of marriage. That is something important enough that it should not be left to 4 elitist judges to impose by fiat.

May I speak a word to my gay friends, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow-countrymen. You are a minority and I'm sure you recognize that. And that is ok. But please show kindness and tolerance for the rest of us and vote with us to help preserve marriage as between a man and a woman. I know you may not have any personal parochial interest in voting yes on Prop 8. But as your friend and neighbor, I'm asking for your vote to help preserve the definition of this institution that is so important. Thank you.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

Proposition 8 is about the principle that in a democracy founded on constitutionally guaranteed rights of fairness and equality, every citizen must be treated with the same respect and dignity under the law. It's not just the tangible benefits of marriage that our constitution guarantees it's the intangible right to respect and dignity that only marriage provides: one equal system for all citizens.

It is the responsibility of the Judicial branch of the government to insure that all laws enacted in our state, whether by the legislature or directly by the people, do not violate the foundational principles of our constitution. The supremacy of our constitution is our protection against the arbitrary will of the majority and our constant reminder that fundamental principles of fairness and equality must always come first.

Asking a minority to show "tolerance" for the prejudices of their oppressor is ridiculous. I will not kindly accept less than I deserve in order to make you feel comfortable. How dare you. My husband and I will not live a diminished life where we face hurdles and hardships every day associated with being denied my constitutional rights merely to help you enshrine the definition of a word.

sonAmerica said...

I really appreciate you and your allowing me to respond. I'm thankful for good neighbors of all different backgrounds.

Prop 8 isn't about rights or unfairness or inequality. Everyone is either a man or a woman. So they all have the right to participate in "marriage", if they so choose. Some may have no interest in joining into marriage of a man and a woman. And that is their free choice. But it is intolerant of the needs of the rest of society for them to then demand that marriage be redefined for all the rest of us. Changing marriage to include any combination of genders fundamentally changes the institution of marriage.

Men and women are different. And that diversity is important. Each brings gender-unique and needed approaches to the raising of children. The definition of marriage as between a man and a woman recognizes that important contribution by both genders in the raising of our future generations.

I have no problem with gay people having civil unions for civil benefits etc, and they can live and do as they want. But as a society we need to promote marriage of a man and a woman, because that institution is critical for the future survival of society. And this issue is important enough that 4 judges ruling by fiat must not be allowed to override the will of the people on defining this most vital foundational institution of society.

Friends, please vote Yes on 8.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

When inter-racial couples sought the right to marry they were also told that everybody had the right to marry a person of the same race. Then as now that statement masks a position of obvious discrimination behind a condescending smile. Since June 17 when the Supreme Court decision became effective, gay men, lesbians, and straight men and women in California have equally enjoyed the right to marry the person they love. Proposition 8 would eliminate that fundamental right for some of our citizens, which is not the American way.

Proposition 8 is not about raising children. It's about the right to marry. The only children who are affected by Proposition 8 are the children of same-sex couples. Families headed by unmarried parents are not better for children. And it's not better for society.

The future survival of our American society depends on our remaining true to the fundamental principles of fairness and equality that have made our country great. I'm proud of our interlocking system of governmental checks and balances that works as it should to ensure fundamental rights for all people.

And I'll be voting No on 8

sonAmerica said...

Race is superficial and unrelated to marriage, notwithstanding those obsolete bigoted laws. Gender is absolutely essential though. Without diversity of gender in a marriage, marriage is meaningless. This is basic stuff. People are being blinded by a desire to feel progressive and tolerant. But to destroy the basic meaning of marriage is not tolerance. Destroying the essential meaning of marriage is actually intolerant and bigoted in reverse.

Prop 8 is about marriage. And marriage is about children and families. The reason society even cares to recognize marriage is because the future of society depends on our kids. Marriage is about rearing children and helping promote stable homes where fathers and mothers, both bringing gender-unique approaches to the table, effectively raising our future generations. If that procreative foundation crumbles, societies die. Vibrant healthy societies place emphasis on families with husband, wife, and children.

I respect your right to vote according to your conscience. I encourage everyone to consider the future and vote Yes on 8.

sonAmerica said...

One common question is "How does some gay couple getting married across town make you love your own husband/wife less?". That is a strawman argument, though. Because it isn't about us individually. It is about our children and grandchildren and the future of all of society. No man is an island.

Also, it simply isn't true to say that gay marriage will have no effect on the institution of marriage of a man and a woman. That is just naive thinking, without looking at recent history. Gay marriage has already been tried in the Netherlands, resulting in a couple of things that were unexpected by the gay marriage proponents: 1) most gays (90%) didn't even bother to marry now that they could; and 2) traditional marriage started a downward trend with rising incidence of childbirth out of wedlock. So, the vital institution of traditional marriage was weakened for very little benefit even to a very small special interest group:

I respectfully ask my gay friends and neighbors and concerned citizens to please do the selfless thing and have compassion on our children, grandchildren, and future generations, and please do not become part of further erosion of the vital institution of marriage of a man and a woman. Please vote Yes on 8.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

How nice that we can now agree that laws that allowed marriage only between people of the same race are obsolete and bigoted. Those laws were overturned (by Supreme Court action not vote of the people) first in California (Perez vs. Sharp - 1948) and eventually nationwide (Loving vs. Virgina - 1967). Many people at the time believed race to be an essential factor in marriage and that the future of our society depended on preserving traditional marriage laws. We now agree that isn't true. Marriage requires mutual commitment and respect between two loving adults; that's all. And American society is strengthened by upholding the equal rights of all our citizens.

Marriage is about marriage not about children. A marriage license does not require any evidence that a couple desires children, is capable of having children, or will be good parents if they do have children. If raising healthy children is your issue please go forth and do good work. But don't imagine that destroying the healthy marriages of thousands of same-sex couples, or preventing people from marrying the person of their choice will help a single child.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

I'm glad you admit that recognizing the right of a same-sex couple to marry poses no danger to any other existing marriages.

It's true that out-of wedlock births have increased in the Netherlands. This is a trend that began long before same-sex marriage was legalized there. And it is a logical mistake to say that because two things happen together that one caused the other. I urge to read this article from the Washington Post looking at the same statistics you site and coming to the opposite conclusion. Here's the key paragraph:

"While it is true that there has been a sharp rise in out-of-wedlock births in Holland since the introduction of domestic partnerships in 1997, there has been no appreciable increase in several other countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, that changed their marriage laws at the same time. In general, the rise in out of wedlock births in Europe predates changes in marriage legislation, according to the European commission. "

I'm not going to publish any more of your comments on this topic. Let's agree that our conversation is over. I do thank you for writing.

Vote No on 8. Equal Rights for all.