Proposition 2: Bigotry wrapped up in cruelty

Posted on 10/10/2005. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I received this in an email and had to share it.

Jacquielynn Floyd:
Proposition 2: Bigotry wrapped up in cruelty
07:32 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 5, 2005

If you’re opposed to gay marriage, you can take a stand: Don’t go to any gay weddings. If you really want to signal your disapproval, don’t send a present.

But don’t vote for the mean and meddlesome proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot that would amend the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Proposition 2 is a cruel piece of ideological bigotry that attempts to create and solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

It’s hard to understand why so many otherwise sensible people have seized on gay marriage as the most menacing potential threat that American society faces. And it’s hard to understand why otherwise decent people see a need to purposely discriminate against couples who want the same workaday legal safeguards as everybody else.

So far, this particular ballot measure is cruising a little beneath the public radar – we’ve been too preoccupied with natural disasters and Supreme Court vacancies to get whipped up in a big front-page frenzy on this one.

But there’s a steady grassroots campaign going on, targeting specific interest groups with direct mailers and e-mail “alerts.” The rest of us will just be left to make up our minds in the voting booth.

Sadly, a lot of people will vote in favor of it because it’s worded simply as a “definition” that limits marriage in Texas to “the union of one man and woman.”

Sounds OK; sounds like marriage as most of us know it. But there’s a little extra language in there that also bans “any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

In other words, no marriage for gay people, and nothing that even legally resembles it. This could mean real legal trouble for, say, sick people who want to assign benefits or powers of attorney to a partner.

Look, I understand the visceral discomfort some people experience when they see two guys kissing on TV. Sexual orientation is part of your hard wiring, and it’s pretty difficult to go against the grain.

That’s exactly the reason that it’s disingenuous and downright spiteful for gay-marriage opponents to suggest, as they do in their campaign literature, that “homosexuals have the same right to marry as we all do. They choose not to marry members of the opposite sex, but they could if they wanted to.”

Never mind that this would mean perpetrating a fraud on the other marriage partner. They could if they wanted to.

A lot of people seem to view the “threat” of gay marriage as emblematic of everything that seems to be deteriorating in our selfish, vulgar, navel-baring popular culture. Marriage sometimes looks less like a sound foundation to our societal structure than it does a tabloid soap opera.

They see marriage cheapened by partner-swapping celebrity dimwits, by selfish jerks who don’t stick around long enough to watch the kids grow up, by the cartoonish Anna Nicole Smith and her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II, who was 90 when he died.

Or they believe the hysterical predictions that gay marriage is the first step in a long decline toward institutionalized polygamy, or weddings uniting people and donkeys.

It seems to me that if you’re worried about all those things, there’s a real benefit in extending the franchise to stable couples who see marriage as a serious commitment. That’s a matter of character, not of sexual orientation.

Of course, there are those who just flat don’t like gay people, who consider homosexuality offensive and amoral.

Thus, they would limit somebody else’s rights to protect themselves from being “offended.” Aren’t these the same people who wring their hands over out-of-control “political correctness”?

Proposition 2 will not stop people from being gay. It won’t stop them from moving in together or throwing housewarming parties or joining the PTA. All it will do is make life a little harder for them, and why do you want to do that to people you don’t even know?

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Texas, and even if it weren’t, it wouldn’t change your life.

But if you really want to take a stand, go ahead and boycott gay weddings. There’ll be more cake for everybody else.

E-mail jfloyd@dallasnews.com

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