Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Marriage Walls Are Tumblin' Down
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples...Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, Perry v. Schwartzeneggar
Lawrence, Kansas, 4:00PM CST
What's that sound I just heard coming from our distant, beloved and native California? Just another few bricks crumbling off that old, hastily built wall blocking gays and lesbians from state-sponsored marriage. This cannon-blast came from US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, appointed by Republican George H. Bush, who heard from 16 witnesses over the course of 2 1/2 weeks in January. The normally conservative Republican Ted Olson took on this case with his good liberal friend David Boies, defending a gay couple from SoCal and a lesbian couple from Berkeley. Neither Republican Governor Arnold Schwarteneggar nor Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown agreed to argue on behalf of Proposition 8.
Although this important case still has a couple more hurdles (US Appelate Court and US Supreme Court--we are holding our breath), EasyYolk concurs with Walker on the basis of both the biblical gospel story and deep democracy enshrined in the earliest documents of our founders. In other words, it is both "blessed are the meek" and "liberty and justice for all." Here are a few things we'd like to share with all of our Christian brothers and sisters who sincerely voted "yes" on Proposition 8.
1. As much as you want to scream "judicial activism" or "I can't believe this judge is taking away my democracy," remember that the court system has been a vital component to ensure rights for minorities at key junctures in American history. Where would we be without Brown v. Board of Education (1954) striking down educational Jim Crow? Sometimes judges can do what majority populations refuse to do: insure rights to those who have had rights wrongfully taken away. For most of my Christian brothers and sisters, this litmus test will do: Would you agree with a judicial decision that banned abortion in all 50 states?
2. The defendents in Perry v. Schwartzeneggar (pro-Prop 8) admitted in cross-examination that children reared by same-sex parents fared no worse that those in "traditional" homes. These same pro-Prop 8 attorneys answered "I don't know" to the judge's question about how exactly marriage equality would harm opposite-sex marriages.
3. We can take notes from uber-conservative-Catholic Argentina whose Legislature and President just made same-sex marriage legal. The Argentinian population has rather conservative views on sexuality, but they overwhelmingly believe (70% in public opinion polls) that a citizen's choice to get married to anyone they want, regardless of gender, is a matter of basic equality.
4. A recent study on the Proposition 8 vote has revealed that a major shift in voting occured in the final week before the November 2008 election. The results showed that the changed hearts/minds of these voters (more than 687,000 voters!) came as a result of fear-based TV ads (like this) that showed a little girl coming home to tell mommy that she learned about gay sex and how she can choose to be gay when she grows up. Of course, this greatly affected parents with children under 18 still living at home. This kind of last-minute advertising works...but not a lick of it was true.
5. As we've posted before, there are numerous reasons we give for why this is a "Christian" issue:
-Because when the Bible, a library of diverse & inspired documents, refers to "homosexuality" it never refers to same-sex marriage or orientation, but instead to what it actually was in that historical context: same-sex temple prostitution, same-sex military rape, same-sex pederastry (a wealthy man who owns a young boy for sexual gratification).
-Because God's People are commanded--over and over again in the Bible--to reject fear and embrace the vulnerable, left-out, marginalized. Gays and lesbians, throughout the centuries, have been grossly misunderstand and pushed aside and neglected. They continue to be equated with pedaphiles and molesters.
-Because many communities within the American Body of Christ, over the centuries, have been silent or complicit with the wrong side of history on too many vital social issues, including slavery, women's rights, civil rights and various wars (including our current adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan).
-Because the heterosexual agenda is the real issue in US culture. We are inundated with sexual hints and innuendos on TV, movies, billboards, print ads, commercials, music and magazine covers.
-Because divorce within "traditional marriage" is widespread within the Body of Christ. Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are just two examples of conservative leaders who champion "traditional marriage" in order to block same-sex marriage, but then define "traditional marriage" on their own terms, getting married over and over to different women.
-Because scientific studies are "contested" and abused by both sides of the debate to bludgeon their opponents with "the truth."
-Because conservative Christians rarely get the opportunity to hear the stories of gays and lesbians, who have, since an early age, experienced sexual feelings that the mainstream has labeled "distorted" and "perverted." They are hard to find since fear and manipulation have driven them into the closet.
-Because gays and lesbians have a lot to teach the Body of Christ about what persecution and vulnerability really feel like.
-Because gays and lesbians, just like heterosexuals, should have a real option (recognized by their faith community) to experience covenant love that requires discipline, fidelity, service and forgiveness.