An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage

Last night, after our SFGMC concert in Santa Cruz, I got home, logged on to Facebook, and saw that a friend from high school posted a video about how Rick Warren supports Prop 8–with the following comment attached: “Another awesome video w/Rick Warren!

Disgusted, shocked, and fatigued from the concert,  I commented “This hate speech makes me sick.” This set off a flurry of comments from three other folks including, “D,” the one who originally posted the video. And after the jump, you’ll find the conversation.

But above and beyond that, no matter your religious background, your stance on gay marriage, or your stance on the definition of marriage, we cannot continue living in a society where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people–real people–are living in fear for their lives because messages of intolerance, which are masked by religion, continue being passed around. These messages get misconstrued and promote hate.

So I get it. Protect the word “marriage.” Let’s say you can have it. Now what? What are we doing as a state, as a society, as humans, as a nation to make sure that we are all being protected? That we all get the same rights, feel the same value, and get the same chance at love, family, and peace that is afforded to heterosexual people.

Well, I’ll tell you what’s been done: a whole lotta yelling, blaming, finger-pointing, and arguing. But at the end of the day, it’s people making one-on-one connections with each other that will be the difference. As Karla reminded me tonight (as she usually does when she brings me back to the ground), that was the failure of the No on 8 campaign. We invested a lot of our money on flashy ad campaigns, while the Yes on 8 folks took it to the streets, for real (as evidenced by my 30-minute argument on the streets of Hacienda Heights with a family of Yes on 8ers).

Let’s take it to the streets then. Like how SFGMC went to Modesto and is going to the Central Valley and Sacramento to promote peace and tolerance. You don’t have to be gay or agree with gay marriage to promote peace and tolerance.

I’ll end my diatribe with a snippet of how I ended my conversation with “D”:

“We are now on the brink of a huge social change movement, the likes of which our generation has never seen. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, are your everyday actions furthering a nation and society that you aspire to have? Or are you just sticking with the way it’s been (and the “definition”) because that’s what you know and have known?

This is a challenge, not just for you, but for our entire generation.”

Hit the jump for the entire e-conversation.

“C” at 1:02am December 21

The solution to this is to have the secular government stop performing “marriages”. Make every union, whether between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, man and dog, etc…a “civil union”, and leave the title of “marriage” to religions. This way, the decision of who can receive “marriages” can be left up to individual religions, and we still have equality under the law.

 “D” at 2:10am December 21

I’m down with that, “C”! “Civil Union” is fine with me!

Rey, I disagree. There’s no hate in anything Rick Warren says. Disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs or decisions is not hating them. If that were true, than all homosexuals would be hating those who are heterosexual and all of their talk would be considered hate speech.

Me at 10:47am December 21

The difference with what Warren is saying and what homosexuals are saying is that we are not trying to take anyone’s rights away. The entire Yes on 8 campaign was trying to take human rights away. On a base level, the majority should never have the opportunity to vote on the rights of a minority group AND we all should be practicing the separation of church and state.

In regards to Rick Warren’s argument that the man-woman definition of marriage has been around for 5,000 years in almost every culture… slavery has been parts of those very same cultures and even written in the Bible. But our culture transcended that, and I firmly believe that our culture will transcend this narrow definition of love and marriage as well.

The bottom line is that this is about having equal rights; it’s about having the same opportunity at love, family, and *protection under the law* that you take for granted with your wife and partner.

Merry Christmas!

“P” at 12:48pm December 21

Lets not forget less than half a century ago anti-miscegenation laws were employed to prohibit interracial marriage. The logic stating minority rights’ should be trumped by the majority is baseless. If that were the case I would be drinking out of a “colored” water fountain.
The beauty of the State Supreme Court is that this ruling can be overturned by activist judges. One of the weaknesses of the initiative process…. 🙂
Merry Xmas Go Lakers!!

 “D” at 5:12pm December 21

Human rights? Taking away peoples’ rights? That’s a total disillusion and has been used over and over, simply not true. First of all, for a right to be “taken away,” it first has to be had. Secondly, marriage by definition is between a man and a woman. All are free to marry another of the opposite sex. Therefore no rights are being taken away and all are treated equal. If homosexuals want to be with another of the same sex, I will never go to their doorstep and say contrary to it! I have a lot of homosexual friends AND at least one family member as well! I urge them to fight for rights that they want DIRECTLY and to not try to change the definition of the word marriage. I have never had a problem with homosexuals having equal rights, etc, but this is about changing what “marriage” is. People for and against Prop 8 have brought up so many other issues besides what it’s about, marriage being between a man and a woman. That’s all it’s about, and the definition needs to stay.

 “P” at 7:02pm December 21

Definitions are so arbitrary. Perhaps if Civil Union included certain rights allowed “married” couples there would not be this disconnect. Namely: tax benefits, estate planning benefits, and other government benefits provided for “married” couples.

 “C” at 7:42pm December 21

Actually, civil unions are granted all the same rights as married couples afforded to them by the state government. Until “civil unions” are accepted by the Federal government as valid unions, those that have a civil union will not be given the same federal tax rights as married couples, or several other federal benefits afforded to married couples. Also, some unregulated private companies in California don’t afford them the same rights because they disagree with the idea of homosexual unions and are not explicitly required to by law. I say “unregulated” because there are certain industries that are required to give the same benefits to civil unions that they do to marriages. Insurance for example.

I don’t think the major beef that married couples have with prop 8 are the intrinsic rights that come along with the title of marriage, but rather the fact that they are being denied what they feel is a basic human right simply because others feel that they should not have it.

and actually the term “domestic partnership” was the term i was looking for…

“P” at 9:21pm December 21

ahhh we are arguing semantics here.
The enormity of the California initiative was measured in its potential to snowball into a recognition of these “unions” as valid under federal law.
haha I am over this….
Let the Supreme Court of California decide! And lets abolish the initiative process once and for all!

Me at 11:12pm December 21

“D”, I’m not going to have a back-&-forth argument with you about this issue. Clearly there is enough ammunition no matter which perspective you see it from–as evidenced from your friends, “C” and “P”.

I do want to leave you with 2 things to think about:

1. On a personal level, when I saw that you posted the video, I was hurt. And with feelings, there are no wrongs, rights, or judgments.

2. On a larger level, everyday people are getting hurt because of messages of intolerance–most of which are passed around without thought, like what you did. We are now on the brink of a huge social change movement, the likes of which our generation hasn’t seen. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, are your everyday actions furthering a nation and society that you aspire to have? Or are you just sticking with the way it’s been (and the “definition”) because that’s what you know?

This is a challenge, not just for you, but for our entire generation.

PS – I invite you to discuss this further offline. You can definitely give me a call or come up for a visit.

I think what both the Yes on 8 and No on 8 sides got wrong is that they didn’t foster enough conversation. And really, it’s only with mutual understanding and communication that we can ever start to take baby steps to a better future for everyone. We all deserve that.

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